Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta’s request for extra 15 working days to respond to queries from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in the matter of the public offer of the controversial $2.25 billion bond is believed to be a ploy to “conceal evidence.”
Reacting to the Finance Minister’s request, deputy Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Ketu North, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, said Mr. Ken Ofori Atta’s attempt to “buy time” in responding to queries by the commission shows that he wants to cover up “his shady deals.”
Hon Avedzi and some Ghanaians have been wondering why the Finance Minister could use a day to issue $2.25 billion, but needed almost a month to provide answers to simple allegations of conflict of interest as alleged by Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the National Democratic Congress, Yaw Brogya Genfi.
“I think there is something the Finance Minister wouldn’t want to bring out. There is something that definitely he wants to find a very nice way of covering up so that the truth cannot come up and we think what the Finance Minister is asking for is not proper,” the deputy Minority Leader stated on Radio Gold’s Gold Power Drive.
Mr Genfi alleged in his petition that, “a number of issues of conflict of interest and the lack of transparency have emerged from the bond issuance.”
For instance, the bonds were not on the issuance calendar; the initial pricing guidelines of the bond were issued after working hours on March 30, 2017, while the public announcement of the transaction was sent by email at 9:09 am on March 31, 2017.
That meant that the transaction was opened before the announcement was made to the public.
Mr Genfi further alleged that April 3, 2017 was the Settlement Date and not the closing date of the bond.
He said one single investor, Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, an American global investment management organisation founded in 1947 purchased 95 per cent of the bond issued.
Mr Genfi was of the view that “a relational interest existed between the Minister of Finance and Mr Trevor G Trefgarne, who in a semi-annual report of the Franklin Templeton Investment Limited of December 31, 2016 is named as one of the Board of Directors of the organisation, while also being the Chairman of the Enterprise Group Limited.
“Enterprise Group Limited is a company partially owned by Data Bank Limited, a company in which the Finance Minister is known to have significant interest,” Mr Genfi said.
He also complained that Mr Tevor G Trefgarne and the Minister of Finance had also been described as “great friends.”
CHRAJ after its preliminary assessment of the petition wrote to Ken Ofori Atta to respond to Brogya Genfi’s petition with any documents or information “within 10 days and, if you admit to the allegations, to state so expressly.”
But the Finance Minister wrote back to CHRAJ insisting that in order to properly respond to the issues with supporting documentation, an extension of time by an additional 15 business days was required.
Though the conflict of interest charge was lodged against the Finance Minister and not the Ministry of Finance, the letter requesting extension of time was signed by Chief Director, Mr Patrick Nomo on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.
This, the deputy Minority said, is a smart way by the Finance Minister to buy time in order to cover all his tracks before responding to commission’s queries.
Source: The Al-Hajj