A circus of alternative facts is dancing between the Minister of State-designate for Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, whose private company, Blackstar Brokerage Limited has allegedly been hired by the Ministry of Finance as Transaction Advisor for the government’s borrowing program, and the Ministry itself.
This is because while the Ministry has claimed that Blackstar Brokerage was never hired, Mr. Charles Adu Boahen confirms that the Ministry indeed hired his company as a Transaction Advisor.
During his appearance before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for vetting, Charles Adu Boahen confirmed to MPs that Blackstar Brokerage Limited, “was selected as one of the advisors to the international markets programme which includes the issuance of the Eurobond.”
However, he claimed that that the company did not participate in the government’s Eurobond issuance and therefore, did not have any engagement or sign any engagement letter or were paid any fees or did any business with the government.
Even so, Charles Adu Boahen’s admission was in direct contradiction to an earlier press statement by the Ministry of Finance which had said that Blackstar Brokerage, along with Databank Financial Services, a company owned by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, had never been hired as TAs by the government for any loan programs.
“It is our understanding that the firms in question that the story refers to are Databank and Black Star Brokerage. The Ministry would like to state that the claim that these two firms have been appointed as advisors to the Ministry of Finance is incorrect,” the press statement read.
The Ministry’s press statement had been in response to revelation by MP for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo that the Finance Ministry had released its list of transaction advisors for the government’s loan program of some Ghc60billion and that Adu Boahen’s Blackstar Brokerage and Ofori-Atta’s Data Bank were named in the list of TAs.
The two companies, Adongo had said, stood to benefit from some Ghc210million in fees that would accrue to the companies which had been hired as TAs.
Meanwhile, Adongo had observed that since 2017 when the Akufo-Addo government came into office, Blackstar Brokerage and Data Bank have been benefitting from suchlike deals from the Finance Ministry where Adu Boahen had previously worked under Ofori-Atta as Deputy Finance Minister. To date, the two companies have benefited from up to Ghc856million in fees.
Adu Boahen responded by saying he had resigned from his own company in 2017 to pick up an appointment in government and therefore cannot be accused of conflict of interest.
According to him, the appointment of Blackstar Brokerage was purely based on merit and therefore justified even though he was the Deputy Minister of Finance.
“In their current capacity as bond market specialists, they’re operating purely based on performance and I have no influence or say in what they do. It is their responsibility to go out and raise money for government when bonds are issued. They then get paid based on their ability to do so.”