Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have accused government of massaging the figures of Ghana’s annual gold royalties in an attempt to justify the Agyapa Minerals deal.

At a media briefing in Accra on Tuesday, they accused government of under-reporting the country’s earnings from gold royalties and restricting access to the information on the deal communicated to them.

They claim government reported Ghana’s gold royalties last year to be $123 million during a meeting with CSOs when the actual figure according to them is $200 million.

Dr Steve Manteaw who speaks for the 22 CSOs said, “We have so far been constrained in our analysis of this transaction by our inability to access the full complement of data and assumptions used in government’s valuation of the royalties being traded.

“At our last meeting with the Ministry, some slides containing some data were presented. However, when we requested for copies, those particular slides of interest to us were omitted either deliberately or inadvertently.

“The interesting thing for citizens to appreciate is that through government’s communication it is evident that it is either not paying attention to the revenue flows in the sector, or deliberately undervaluing the assets for unknown reasons.

“When a direct question was posed to the Deputy Minister of Finance on the amount of royalties received from gold in 2019, he said Ghana received about ¢650 million ($123 million).

“The truth is that Ghana received ¢1.06 billion ($200 million) from the big companies under the Chamber of Mines alone. Government has data on the other receipts, yet it decided to under-report the numbers.

“Again, in our meeting with the Finance Ministry, we were given half-year receipts for 2019 of $72 million (¢366 million). The underreporting of the 2019 revenue which is the most significant period for revenue projection and emphasis on old royalty numbers is intriguing,” Dr Manteaw added.

But the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Sekondi, Andrew Agyapa Mercer, said the $123 million figure represents only royalties from the 16 mining leases that are part of the Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal.

“It’s unfortunate that deals of this nature are made without backing them with facts. They are accusing government of a serious offence,” he said.