The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has given the government a one-week ultimatum to retrieve all state monies paid to Databank and other companies under the Agyapa Royalties deal.
According to the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who cited a Corruption Risk Assessment report presented by the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin A.B.K Amidu, last week which indicated that the Agyapa deal was null and void, said the party would fight to protect the state's resources.
Speaking at the party’s weekly press briefing in Accra on Tuesday, November 10, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia said that the NDC together with organisations who share in their view would embark on series of protest and legal actions if the government fail to respond positively to their demands.
“The NDC hereby demands, that President Akufo retrieves for the state the billions of cedis his government has illegally paid under the Agyapa deal to Databank and African Legal Associates, within the next 7 days, failing which the NDC and other like-minded progressive forces, shall embark on series of protest and legal actions to ensure that every pesewa paid to these companies are refunded back to the State for nation building.”
He expressed the party’s disappointment in the manner in which the government is allegedly shielding persons who are said to be involved in the agreement.
“The NDC is appalled by the refusal of President Akufo-Addo to crack the whip on the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta who supervised this daylight heist, and his Deputy, Charles Adu Boahen, who fraudulently signed the Mandate Agreement when he had no locus to do so under our laws. It is sad but unsurprising, that these government officials who are responsible for the shady Agyapa deal which has occasioned a huge financial loss to the nation, are still at post,” he said.
He also disagreed with the suggestion by President Akufo-Addo to take the deal back to parliament as well as the directive by the Special Prosecutor to hold investigations until after the December elections.
“The findings of Procurement cannot be remedied by any Parliamentary review of the deal as is being urged on us by President Akufo Addo. These issues can only, and must be addressed through the criminal justice system of this country,” he explained.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia, however, called on Mr. Amidu to begin investigations and ensure that all persons who played a role in the Agyapa deal are dealt with according to the law.
“The Office of the Special Prosecutor must conduct criminal investigations into this matter and ensure that anyone who directly or indirectly played any role in this Agyapa scam, faces the full rigors of the law. That is the only way we can salvage the failing fight against corruption in our country,” he said.
He said the NDC if voted into power would investigate the Agyapa deal and punish all persons involved in the deal through an operation known as “the Operation Sting crusade”.
On August 14, 2020, Parliament approved the Agyapa Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement and four related documents to allow for the monetisation of Ghana’s future gold royalties.
Under the agreement, Agyapa Mineral Royalties Limited has been incorporated in Jersey near UK to receive and manage royalties from 16 gold mining leases over the next 15 years or so.
In exchange, the firm will list on the London and Ghana Stock Exchanges later this year and raise at least $500 million for government to invest in infrastructure, health and education.
The listing will allow private people to buy a 49 per cent stake in the firm.
Special Prosecutor's investigation
The Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin A.B.K. Amidu, therefore commenced investigations into the Agyapa Mineral Royalties transaction.
In a letter of September 10, 2020, addressed to the clerk of Parliament, the Special Prosecutor said the investigation was in line with his office’s mandate to exercise the functions and powers of the prevention of corruption.
“I write in pursuant to Sections 2(1) c, 29 and 73 of Act 959 and Regulation 31 (1) and (2) of L. I. 2374 mandating the Office to exercise the functions and powers of the prevention of corruption, to request you to provide this office with information and all documents related to and/or in connection with the approval given by Parliament to the Agyapa Royalty Transaction to assist this office to execute its prevention of corruption object,” the letter from the Special Prosecutor to Parliament said.
The Special Prosecutor urged Parliament to ensure “timeous compliance with this statutory notice.”
The letter added: “This Office will be concentrating on any potential of the said transaction to promote and facilitate the suspected commission of corruption and corruption-related offences and advise government accordingly.”
It said in view of the public interest generated in the issue in the tense election environment this year, “it will be highly appreciated should you make the requested information available to the Office and produce the required documents to this office on or before Tuesday, September 17, 2020”, the letter said.