On Monday, 9th September 2019, President Akufo-Addo finally put the nail in the coffin of his elusive fight against corruption, when he engaged in the inglorious exercise of finally clearing himself of corruption - and as a “Clearing Agent” of Corruption.
In a speech at the 2019 Bar Conference that has left many disappointed, the President did not only engage in an ignominious act of defending and encouraging the incessant corruption in his government, but he also shockingly sought to deflect, taunt and label with stonewalling flippancy, all those who have expressed worry over happenings in his government, as detractors and opponents.
But even more worrying was the insincerity demonstrated and the falsehood peddled by President Akufo-Addo, relative to his wobbly fight against corruption. He went on to blame his unenviable track-record in the fight against corruption on institutional processes.
As quoted by the Daily Graphic of Tuesday, September 10, 2019, the President claimed;
“It is not my job to clear or convict any person accused of wrongdoing, or of engaging in acts of corruption. My job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring to the issue or issues to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant enquiry and necessary action”.
What the President dishonestly hid from the Ghanaian people is the numerous occasions on which institutions of state have indicted his appointees, only for him to turn a blind eye on such damning findings.
One such case in reference is the indictment of the Finance Minister, Hon. Ken Ofori Atta by CHRAJ.
Firstly, the case under reference was not referred to CHRAJ by the President. In fact, the hullabaloo about what has come to be known as KENBOND raged in public circles and never caught the attention of the President for any investigation.
As the Petitioner in the case of the $2.25 billion Kenbond, I want to remind the President that his cousin, the Finance Minister was manifestly indicted by the CHRAJ report which he conveniently swept under the carpet.
The CHRAJ report indicted Ken Ofori Atta for “breaches of the processes leading to the issuance of bonds” under the recommended actions by the Commissioner in respect of the investigation. Specifically, the Commissioner found the Finance Minister, Joint Book Runners and the Transaction Advisors culpable of circumventing “the processes and procedures for issuing bonds” (Page 139, CHRAJ report).
The CHRAJ report further found the Finance Minister to have promoted insider trading by creating an avenue for Primary Dealers such as “Bookrunners and Transaction Advisors” to gain unfair advantage in the Bond issuance process.”
Among the 21-point findings in its decision, CHRAJ observed that Primary Dealers also doubled up as Bookrunners/Transaction advisors and that dual role gave them an undue advantage.
This was the main gravamen of my petition to CHRAJ which bothered on Conflict of Interest. It is therefore erroneous, misleading and hypocritical for President Akufo-Addo and his backing agents such as Abdul Malik Kweku Baako to be claiming that the Finance Minister was entirely exonerated by the findings of CHRAJ.
In spite of the fact that CHRAJ exonerated the Finance Minister on conflict of interest, CHRAJ stated that the likelihood of conflict of interest by the Finance Minister was imminent -
“Respondent is either a director, former director or shareholder, or beneficial owner, of several companies whose objects relate to the securities market sector. The companies include Databank and EGL. As such, Respondent’s interests in the growth and wellbeing of those companies, have the potential to conflict with the interests of the state in relation to the securities market such as the issuance of bonds.” (Page 135, CHRAJ Report).
CHRAJ also found out that "From the evidence, the Commission finds that the Respondent is either a director, former director, a shareholder holder either directly or indirectly. The evidence also shows that the Respondent has several business partners and relations in the said companies. By extension, there is, therefore, a relational interest between the respondent and Mr. Trevor Trefgane” (page 121, CHRAJ report).
On the question of non-compliance with the Public Financial Management Act, 921 of 2016, CHRAJ’s report established firmly and conclusively on page 140, that raising funds from the bond market is a form of government borrowing, hence must conform with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution on the need for Parliamentary approval.
Section 56 (1) of the PFM Act states: “The terms and conditions of all government borrowing shall be laid before Parliament and shall not come into operation unless the terms and conditions are approved by a resolution of Parliament in accordance with article 181 of the Constitution”.
“The issuance of bonds is a form of borrowing and therefore operationalizing section 56 (2) of the PFM Act with standard terms and conditions for government borrowing through a legislative instrument or through a resolution of Parliament to enable greater transparency in all borrowings is long overdue,” (Page 140, CHRAJ Report)
This Parliamentary approval was not sought due to the deliberate indecent haste of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta to promote opacity through insider trading with his cronies.
From the aforesaid, it cannot be deduced by any stretch of logic or imagination, that Ken Ofori Atta was entirely cleared of any wrongdoing by CHRAJ in their investigations of my petition on the dubious KENBOND.
Therefore, no matter how the Chief Clearing Agent President Akufo-Addo will seek to whitewash and exculpate his cousin the Finance Minister in this rot, it will always stink to the high heavens.