$2.25 Bonds Issue: IFS worried over Minority’s position

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Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), an economic and financial think-tank, has expressed worries that the minority caucus’ insistence on insider-trading and conflict of interest in the issuance of the US$2.25 billion bonds could spell doom for the country’s economy.

This follows the Minority in Parliament’s latest decision to petition the Securities and Exchange Commission of Luxembourg as part of its ongoing crusade for the Ministee of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta to make full disclosure on the Bonds issued in April this year.

This is the second petition to an international institution to demand investigation of possible insider-trading and disclosure of all clauses in the bonds term of issue by the Minority.
The first petition was sent to the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission to probe what the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmakers suspect to be riddled with underhand dealings, enabling Franklin Templeton Investments to buy a chunk of the bond.

In this new petition, the Minority wants Authorities to investigate the Luxembourg-based subsidiary of Franklin Templeton which bought the bond on behalf of its Parent Company.

The multiplicity of the petitions has got the Executive Director of IFS, Prof. Newman Kusi worried. He claims it has the potential of injuring the country’s ability to lure investors.

“The minority should be very careful in what they are doing” cautioned Prof. Kusi who argued that if a case of conflict of interest in the issuance of the bond is established “all the international rating agencies are going to downgrade the country, which means that when we conduct international business we don’t look at issues of probity and integrity.”

“I really don’t understand what the minority stands to gain,” he told Morning Starr host Francis Abban on Starr FM.

But, Dr. Dominic Ayine, a former deputy Attorney General and Minster of Justice has laughed off the warnings by the IFS Executive Director.
He said the minority is not prepared to sacrifice principles which govern issuance of such bonds on the altar of investor confidence.

Dr Ayine believes the petitions to the US and Luxembourg Securities and Exchange Commission will rather promote confidence of investors in the Ghanaian economy.

“I will really be very sad if that happens. But of course the public policy and public law principles governing the issuance of the bond should not also be sacrificed on the altar of investor confidence,” he told Francis Abban. “Should we be doing things that end-run the basic principles of our constitution in order that investors will have confidence in the economy.”

He added: “On the contrary if we engage in matters that do not augur well for transparency and accountability that is when investors will rather shy away from us. But if investors know that there are citizens here who are fighting for transparency and disclosure and that our government is cooperative, that is when they will have more confidence in the economy.”
Source: Adnan Adams Mohammed

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