Despite damning revelations that the Agyapa Royalty deal is marred by widespread fraud, leading to its suspension, President Akufo Addo is promising to revive it by pushing it back to Parliament to give it a green light.
Delivering his State of the Nation (SONA) on Tuesday, the President hinted that the controversial deal will be resurrected in the 8th Parliament despite both local and international calls for the deal to be scrapped.
Former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu had conducted a Corruption Risk Assessment on the Agyapa deal and had found systematic plans by a few people in government, led by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to personally benefit from the deal.
He issued a damning report where he outlined a plethora of dubious actions plaguing the deal, including the fact that Ken Ofori-Atta had used a South African company to front for his own private firm, Databank Financial Services as transaction advisors for the deal.
In the process of releasing the report, Mr. Amidu directly accused President Akufo Addo of personally arm-twisting him to “shelve” the report.
In his anger, Amidu described the president as the “Mother serpent of corruption” who thought he was a poodle to be ordered around in cases involving corruption.
The ensuing fracas led to Mr. Amidu’s resignation and the release of his famous parting shot aimed at President Akufo Addo. He described the president as the “Mother Serpent” of corruption.
As it stands, the Agyapa deal will rob Ghana of at least US$1.5 billion. Agyapa is a questionable Special Purpose Vehicle registered in a notorious tax haven to collect over US$ 200 million of Ghana’s mineral revenues indefinitely and allegedly “monetise” it on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
In the Agyapa deal, Mr. Ofori-Atta and the cabinet of the Akufo Addo administration had attempted to use the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) to set up Agyapa.
However, the convoluted processes of setting up the company, the tweaking of the MIIF Act and the “unconscionable” agreement between the Government of Ghana and Agyapa Royalties Limited raised instant suspicion.
The Finance Ministry also refused to release details of the transaction assessment to neither the general Ghanaian Parliament when they demanded it, nor did they do so for the countless civil society organisations who raised red flags about the fraudulent nature of the deal.
Meanwhile, Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation has warned British authorities not to allow the listing of Agyapa on the LSE because of its dubious background.