Former President and flagbearer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama has said that considering the findings of the Office of the Special Prosecutor on the Agyapa Royalties agreement, the deal should be withdrawn completely.
According to him, the findings of the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu on the Agyapa royalties deal are not surprising because he along with the Minority in Parliament and other organizations argued that the agreement was fraught with corruption.
“It’s nothing new, it is not surprising because the Minority in Parliament has always said that it is a bad deal and it was initiated with corruption and therefore should be cancelled. Thirteen CSOs also said it was a bad deal so it is not surprising that when the Office of the Special Prosecutor went into the issue, they found what all of us have been talking about.”
In an interview with Starr FM, the former President stated that the deal, which had so many issues of corruption was fast-tracked so Parliament did not have enough time to scrutinize it.
“It had issues about no guarantee for money, bid-rigging, and more, those were some of the arguments that came up as soon as the deal was laid in Parliament. It was also fast-tracked, Parliament did not have sufficient time to scrutinize it and it was passed quickly. Certainly whoever was sending it wanted it approved as quickly as possible so that these things would be covered up but the Special Prosecution kicked in and has raised the issues.”
John Mahama stated that “for me, the issue is not about returning it to Parliament, I think it should be withdrawn completely.”
He added that there should be no rush in trying to bring back the deal after it is withdrawn, instead, “a whole new outlook should be taken as to what we should do with our gold royalties and consensus built around it before any such agreement is brought into Parliament.”
He also believes the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta should either be asked to step aside or suspended over the damning report from the Special Prosecutor.
Background of Agyapa Royalties Limited
The Government of Ghana, through the Minerals Income Investment Fund, set up a limited liability company, Agyapa Royalties Limited to receive money Ghana is supposed to earn from gold royalties.
In exchange, the company will be raising between $500 million and $750 million lump sum for the Ghana Government on the Ghana and London Stock exchanges to invest in developmental projects.
The Minority in Parliament boycotted the approval of the agreement in Parliament last week saying it will shortchange Ghanaians.
NDC flagbearer, John Mahama also described the deal as questionable whilst a presidential aspirant of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), William Dowokpor, called it fraudulent.
Meanwhile the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu has raised red flags against the Agyapa Royalties deal.
In his corruption risk assessment released on Monday, November 2, 2020, Mr. Amidu argued that consultations over the deal were not comprehensive and innovative enough.
He further disclosed that the selection and appointment of advisors for the agreement did not meet the “fundamentals of probity, transparency, and accountability.”