Home / GENERAL NEWS / Finance Mins., Gabby, Others Cooking Agyapa Deal Again

Finance Mins., Gabby, Others Cooking Agyapa Deal Again

The Herald, has picked up intelligence that, the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal is on its way back to Parliament and most likely to be featured in the 2022 budget statement expected to be presented on November 15, 2021, by the Finance Minister.

The transaction as usual, is being cooked again by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and the powerful cousin of President Nana Akufo-Addo, Gabby AsareOtchere-Darko, among others.

Both Gabby and Ken Ofori-Atta, had used their private companies; Databank and AfricaLegal Associate to benefit from the transaction last year, and its appears they are at it again.

Ahead of the reintroduction of the move to collateralized Ghana’s mineral royalties, President Akufo-Addo, has made changes at the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) by firing its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Yaw Baah, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Kumawu, Ashanti Region, who was appointed in 2019.

In place of the sacked MrBaah, a certain Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, said to be a lawyer and investment banking expert with over 20 years’ experience in the corporate world, has been appointed as CEO of MIIF.

No explanation has been given for the sacking of Yaw Baah, but MrOtchere-Darko’s media house, Asaase Radio, has strangely linked Edward Koranteng’s appointment to an initial attempt by the Akufo-Addo government to set up Agyapa Royalties Ltd, with the intention of monetising Ghana’s gold royalties, which hit a snag in 2020.

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The presentation of the budget which is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), has gotten the Finance Ministry, seeking inputs from the public and various stakeholders.

The next year’s budget will also see the government’s attempts to collateralize the Ghana Heritage Fund to borrow with it as has been done with the Energy Sector Levy (ESLA).

Many, including civil society organizations, The Herald, has picked up are against collateralization of the Heritage Fund, but the government is adamant and has deployed Charles AduBoahene, Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, to lead the discussion.

Insiders, however, told The Herald that Gabby and others interested in the Agyapa transaction, felt Yaw Baah, was not combative enough when the controversy erupted last year, hence his replacement.

Agyapa Royalties Limited, which had Kofi Osafo-Marfo, son of ex-Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, as its CEO, was incorporated in Bailiwick of Jersey in the UK, a tax haven.

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The offshore company, although under the management of the MIIF, a state institution created by an act of Parliament, the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018 (Act 978), had its own sets of rules.

This law authorises the establishment of a fund to manage the equity interests of the Republic of Ghana in mining companies, to receive mineral royalties and other related income due Ghana from mining operations, and to provide for the management and investment of the fund’s assets.

The directors of the company, were unknown and the manner of their recruitment were also shrouded in total secrecy.

Their tenures of office, including that of the CEO was also unspecified. They could not be fired even for nonperformance or ill health. They were claimed to have been insulated against political interference.

It was only explained that Agyapa Royalties Ltd, was incorporated in a tax haven to cut out the associated high tax charges to the returns that will accrue to the state from the investments.

The Agyapa Royalties Limited, according to the government at the time, was to trade shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange for the private market.

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Strangely, Edward Koranteng’sappointment was announced by MrOtchere-Darko’s media house, Asaase Radio, which noted that he comes to office after an initial attempt by the Akufo-Addo government to realise the objectives set out in the MIIF Act by setting up Agyapa Royalties Ltd.

This occurred after Parliament approved the Agyapa Mineral Royalties Ltd agreement with the Government of Ghana on August14, 2020, despite a walkout by the Minority.

Agyapa Mineral Royalties Ltd, planned to raise between US$500 million and roughly $1 billion for the Government of Ghana through the London and Ghana Stock Exchanges to invest in development projects.

The deal became a topical matter, following concerns, first voiced by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the lead-up to the December 2020 general election.

Civil society groups, quickly joined their voices to the opposition, describing the special-purpose vehicle being created then as opaque, potentially corrupt and undervalued.

Some dissenting voices insisted that the Agyapa agreement must be suspended to allow for greater stakeholder involvement.

However, the government has insisted that the deal is in the best interests of Ghana. Last year, the president directed the Minister for Finance and the Attorney General to review the transaction agreements and, where appropriate, to make adjustments to address some of the concerns raised by stakeholders.

As such, Edward Koranteng and his team at the MIIF, have their mission clearly spelled out for them.

They must ensure that the Agyapa deal is repackaged and resubmitted to Parliament, and that it secures approval.

Then they must implement the deal for the benefit of Ghana.

Before his latest appointment, Koranteng was the regional head in charge of East, Central and Southern Africa for Ghana International Bank plc (GHIB) in the United Kingdom, stationed primarily in Nairobi, Kenya.

His mandate covered the identification of opportunities for the origination of/participation in short-to-medium-term, structured transactions in the region, as well as advising on aspects of the business relating to UK and Ghanaian law in developing products and processes for the bank.

This required developing the business by interfacing with government bodies, sovereigns, commercial banks, large corporates and development financial institutions (DFIs).

Among Koranteng’s many achievements under this mandate are the successful development of a funding structure for the Reserve Bank of Malawi to support that country’s dollar reserves. He also worked on secondary participation with Credit Suisse to provide budgetary support for the Government of Tanzania.

Among other feathers in his cap, Koranteng developed a funding structure with Trade Development Bank Africa to support the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia on essential commodities for the Government of Ethiopia, restructured a long-term facility with other DFIs, led by the European Investment Bank, for Shelter Afrique, and facilitated medium-term financing for HFC Bank Kenya.

Koranteng was also responsible for the energy portfolio of the bank, which included Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Tema Oil Refinery, Volta River Authority, GRIDCo and Electricity Company of Ghana.

Before he entered GHIB, he worked with the Chase Bank Group (Kenya), now SBM Bank Mauritius, as group consultant for energy, oil, gas and mining. He also worked as the group head in charge of energy/oil and gas and mining for Fidelity Bank (Ghana) Ltd in Accra for a period of four years.

Koranteng worked with Access Bank Ghana as group head of corporate and institutional banking. Thereafter, he held various managerial roles at Ecobank, where he also pioneered the bank’s mining business early in that period, between 2000 and 2010.

He started his working career as a management consultant at PrivewaterhouseCoopers in early 2000, when he was part of the team that worked on the liquidation of the Bank for Housing and Construction and the Co-operative Bank.

Koranteng attended Mfantsipim School and holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Ghana.

He studied law at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, where he also obtained a Master of Laws (LLM) in banking and finance.

He holds a postgraduate diploma in law from the BPP Law School in the UK with a specialization in corporate and international trade law.

He was called to the English Bar at Lincoln’s Inn after his Bar vocational course in 2008 and subsequently to the Ghana Bar.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, it is prior to the presentation, seeking inputs from various business associations, professional bodies, faith based organisations as well as the general public.

The inputs the ministry added will cover the budget preparation from 2022 to 2025 and should reach its offices not later than October 8, 2021.

This approach, the ministry explained, forms part of the government’s commitment to deepen citizen engagement and participation in the budget process.

Meanwhile, at the 2021 mid-year budget review, Ken Ofori-Atta disclosed that the government will not be seeking additional funding and supplementary budget for the next half of the 2021 financial year.

According to him, the move is intended to contain the country’s rising debt stock as well as avoiding fiscal revenue slippages.

Ken Ofori-Atta during the presentation announced some key job creation programmes and projects the government intends to undertake over the next three to four years.

The ambitious plan, the finance minister said will deliver one million jobs for the youth over the next three to four years which will be facilitated through the Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) programme.

The programme is expected to promote and support the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), new ventures and start-ups.

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