The Minority in Parliament on Friday raised red flags over an agreement between government and Agyapa Royalties Limited which they say will give the firm $1 billion revenue expected to be accrued from Ghana’s mineral resources.
Deputy Finance Minister Abena Asare laid the Minerals Royalty Investment agreement before parliament on the night of August 13 for approval.
The firm used to be Asaase Royalties Limited but the name was changed recently to Agyapa.
“We’re shocked in the sense that the government in doing so has decided to incorporate a company called Agyapa Royalties Limited. Do you agree with me that not long ago there was some discussion that government had formed a company called Asaase Royalties Limited?
“After the issue came to the public this government has now decided to change the name from Asaase to Agyapa,” Cassiel Ato Forson said.
The Minority also argued that the company was incorporated in a tax haven city in the United Kingdom without oversight from Ghana.
He disclosed that the incorporation documents are yet to be made available despite a request by the Minority.
“As of now, we don’t know the directors and who owns the shares of the Agyapa Company.”
Minority Spokesperson on Finance Cassiel Ato Forson claims the government has already paid about ¢2 million to a Ghanaian firm called African Legal and Associates as legal consultants for the transaction which they believe is out of place.
“We want to know how much money they have paid to this company and for what purpose,” added.
The MP, however, vowed that his side of the House will oppose the deal if they are not furnished with the details regarding the arrangement.
Former Deputy Attorney General Dr. Dominic Ayine has also indicated that legally, the agreement is not in the interest of the country.
He is unaware as to whether a Minerals Investment Fund Amendment Act submitted to President Akufo-Addo has been assented to, a move that would guide the scrutiny of agreements as such.
Dr Ayine further pointed out that “It is clearly stated that the independence of the directors of Agyapa and the local company is guaranteed. Meaning that for the life of the agreement, let’s say 15 years, none of the directors can be removed.”
“What they are seeking to do is to basically appoint directors who cannot be removed by a future government legitimately elected to govern the affairs for 4 years or as long as the people continue to invest their confidence in that government.”
But NPP MP for Adentan Yaw Buabeng Asamoah says there is nothing wrong with the transaction.
The Communications Director of the NPP explained that the government has been transparent in its dealings.
“I want to state to the hearing of the Ghanaians that the way mineral Royalties was hitherto structured has not served the people of Ghana well. We have a government which is far-reaching in conceiving how public funds must be acquired and used.
“We have a government which is Italy transparent and prepared to do everything through parliament. This government is telling the people of parliament that our mineral royalties can raise in excess of half a billion dollars of our own money,” he added.
However, Parliament’s Finance Committee has recommended by majority decision that the house approves the Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement with Agyapa Royalties Limited.