Gov’t disregarded GHEITI, CSOs, and Chiefs of mining communities in Agyapa deal…. 17 CSOs call for its suspension
Adnan Adams Mohammed
Government of Ghana have been accused of deliberately disregarding and sidelining the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), watchdogs in extractive governance (Civil Society Organizations, Media), Traditional authorities and the citizens of mining communities (whose resources the President is holding in trust for them) in the recent controversial deal it has signed with Agyapa Royalties Ghana.
The deal which involves the monetization of the country’s mineral income accruing to the country which gives Agyapa Royalties Limited, the right to secure about US$1 billion to enable government finance unknown infrastructural projects. The Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance is thereby calling for the immediate suspension of the controversial Agyapa Royalties Limited agreement with the government of Ghana.
The CSOs wants the beneficial ownership of the Special Purpose Vehicle and Agyapa Minerals Royalties be made public or the implementation of the deal should be deferred. Parliament last week, in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978) approved the agreements under ‘certificate of emergency’ to allow the country to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetise its mineral income accruing to the country in a sustainable and responsible manner.
“The deal is not transparent and places Agyapa Royalties above the country’s tax laws”, Dr Steve Manteaw, Chairman of the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance expressed worry at a press conference on Tuesday, 25 August 2020.
He added, “The recent amendment of the Minerals Income Investment Fund creates more suspicion. The rushed amendment and inserting worrying clauses including clauses that leaves a special purpose vehicle; Agyapa Royalties above Ghanaian tax laws, outweighs Ghana’s immunity and by that, expose Ghana to the risk of damaging lawsuits should any future government seek to reverse this transaction.”
“What we find even more repulsive about this whole transaction is the provision that permits Agyapa Royalties, a supposed company of the sovereign state, to register in tax payments to borrow money or raise equity in foreign currency from any source on the back of the gold royalties of Ghanaians without the requirement of any further approval, consent and administrative Act of the Government of Ghana. This provision takes Agyapa Royalties away from parliamentary oversight and control”, he added.
Already, the deal has been criticised by many who described it as a way of mortgaging Ghana’s mineral resources. The Minority in Parliament staged a walkout on the passage of the agreement while the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Mahama has said the architects of the Agyapa Royalties deal are cronies of President Nana Akufo-Addo and hinted at cancelling the agreement should he win the 7 December 2020 polls.
“If I become president, I will not accept that deal”, he threatened. According to him, “the people of Ghana do not accept that deal” since, in his view, “it is against the money laundering rules”.