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Finance Minister could be impeached; 2.25bn CHRAJ Report presents enough evidence on illegalities

Ken Ofori Atta, Finance Minister

Mr. Yaw Brogya Gyemfi, the petitioner at the centre of the 2.25billioin US dollar bond allegations against the Finance Minister of Ghana, Mr. Ken Ofori-Attah says the CHRAJ Report after its five months investigations and “the evidence so far indicts him [Finance Minister] of several illegalities which constitutes enough grounds for his removal from office”

In a press statement, Mr. Brogya Gyemfi commended the Commission on its ‘meticulous’ and says he is studying the reports with his lawyers and will speak to the general public in due course.

“I commend CHRAJ for a meticulous work done. Again, my gratitude goes to the media and all the people who stood by me through this 8-month struggle”

Allegations
On April 25, 2017, Mr Genfi petitioned CHRAJ in a letter titled “Petition to investigate conflict of interest in the recent US$ 2.25 billion bond issued by the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Finance.”

In his petition, he alleged “a number of issues of conflict of interest and lack of transparency have emerged from the bond issuance.” relating to the role of the Finance Minister in the issuance of the bond.

According to him, the bonds were not on the issuance calendar, and that the transaction seemed to have been shrouded in secrecy with the bond processes being limited to one day compared to past processes that were open.

Mr Genfi said one single investor, Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, an American global investment management organization founded in 1947 purchased 95 percent of the bond issued.

He insisted 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 one of the Board of Directors of the organization, 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 in his petition.

He also complained that Mr Tevor G Trefgarne and the Minister of Finance had also been described as “great friends.”

Findings
Although there was no evidence that Mr Ofori-Atta benefited personally from the transaction, the Commission, however, found breaches of the rules on the issuance of bonds.

On the basis of that, it gave wide-ranging directives in the exercise of its powers under Article 287 (2) of the Constitution that provides that “The Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice or the Chief Justice as the case may be, may take such action as he considers appropriate in respect of the results of the investigation or the admission,” directed that the Minister ensure that all processes in the issuance of bonds by MoF and the Bank of Ghana (BOG) are complied with.

It also directed that the minister, as a matter of urgency, pass regulations, rules or guidelines to regulate the format of and criteria for the auctions and the procedures for participation, bidding, and allocation in auctions in relation to the issuance of securities in the domestic market.

CHRAJ further charged the minister take measures in preventing Primary Dealers who are also bookrunners/Transaction Advisors from gaining the unfair advantage because of their dual roles.

It urged the implementation of section 56 of the Public Financial Management Act, 921 of 2016 in the shortest possible time due to the imperative of Bonds becoming a feature of the country’s debt payment system and the appetite of investors.

It said section 56 (1) provided that, “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 operationalising 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,” CHRAJ stressed.

Read Mr. Gyemfi’s statement

cen29th. December, 2017

PRESS STATEMENT ON CHRAJ REPORT
___________

This is to inform the general public that l, on Friday 22nd December 2017, received an official copy of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice’s (CHRAJ) report on my petition against the conduct of the Finance Minister in the $2.25billion Bond scandal.

I am currently studying the 140-paged report with my lawyers and will speak to the general public in due course.

However, contrary to media reportage that the Finance Minister has been exonerated of wrongdoing, the evidence so far indicts him of several illegalities which constitutes enough grounds for his removal from office.

I commend CHRAJ for a meticulous work done. Again, my gratitude goes to the media and all the people who stood by me through this 8-month struggle.

The coming days promise to be interesting.

Yaw Brogya Genfi
(Complainant)

Read theCHRAJ full report:

About Efo Korsi Senyo

Efo Korsi Senyo has over 4 years experience working as investigative journalist with Awake Africa. He is the Head of Awake Investigates. Connect with him via senyo@awakeafrica.com or WhatsApp: +233249155003

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