The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) says it is disappointed in the police for going to the extent of obtaining a court order to stop them from demonstrating against the controversial Agyapa mineral royalties deal.
According to the group, the police are acting in bad faith given the formal and orderly procedures ASEPA followed ahead of the programme.
“I think it is a bit surprising because we had written to the police in accordance with the Public Order Act, and we had stated clearly what we intended to do on the 21st of September. The police wrote back to us citing a number of issues which we disagreed with. So we’re through with some processes for the demonstration only to be hit with this court order. It’s actually novel, we didn’t know the police will go to this extent to prevent us from demonstrating,” he said.
Speaking on an Accra based radio station, Citi FM, the Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson said the move by the police was surprising, adding that the group would engage its legal team to decide on the way forward. “We will refer the matter to our lawyers, and we are hoping that our lawyers will advise accordingly. But we are disappointed with the police for going to this extent to stop the demonstration.”
An Accra High Court placed an injunction on the planned demonstration by the group.
It comes after the Inspector General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Boanuh went to court following the insistence of ASEPA to demonstrate despite a police directive.
“It is hereby ordered that the respondents herein, namely ASEPA and Mensah Thompson or any other group of persons affiliated to the respondents are prohibited and restrained from demonstrating against an agreement passed by the Parliament of Ghana popularly known as Agyapa agreement which demonstration is intended for 21st September 2020,” the court order said.
On Friday, August 14, this year, Parliament approved five agreements to allow the country to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetise its mineral income accruing to the state in a sustainable and responsible manner.
That would be by allowing the MIIF, created by Act 978 of 2018, to incorporate a subsidiary/subsidiaries and use them as SPVs to engage in pure commercial private sector transactions to maximise the mineral royalties from the 12 gold mines, with four penciled to come on stream in the medium term.
The approval covered the Minerals Royalties Agreement, the Amended and Restated Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement and the relationship agreement among the government, the MIIF, Agyapa Royalties Limited and ARG Royalties Ghana.
The rest are the assignment agreement between the MIIF and Agyapa Royalties for the assignment of the right of the fund to Agyapa to receive the royalty value due from ARG under the investment agreement for the acquisition of the allocated minerals royalties from the fund in consideration for shares to be issued by Agyapa to the fund at an agreed price of $1 billion.
The approval was to enable the country to use Agyapa Royalties as an SPV to secure about $1 billion and leverage to finance mines in Ghana and across Africa.
The yields accruing could also be used to finance large infrastructural projects by the MIIF.
By that agreement, Agyapa, which will operate as an independent private sector entity, will be able to raise funds from the capital market, both locally and internationally, as an alternative to the conventional debt capital market transactions.
The funds, which are expected to be raised from the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) through initial public offers (IPOs), will be a long-term capital, without a corresponding increase in Ghana’s total debt stock, and hence without a public debt repayment obligation.
Following the approval of those agreements, some groups, including the Minority in Parliament, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and some civil society organisations (CSOs), raised concerns that the agreements were opaque and amounted to the mortgaging of the future of the country.
The opposition NDC raised concerns that the deal was shrouded in secrecy, with its flag bearer, Mr John Mahama, serving notice that he would cancel the deal if he won power.
Additionally, a coalition of 15 CSOs called the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, is demanding the immediate suspension of the implementation of the controversial SPV, Agyapa Royalties Limited.
The coalition said until there was full disclosure on the beneficial ownership of Agyapa Royalties, the implementation of the deal should be deferred.