Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Fate of Agyapa deal hangs in darkness as deadline fast rolling amidst stiff opposition

Adnan Adams Mohammed

Management of Agyapa Royalties Company Limited and the Ministry of Finance have entangled themselves in a heavy tight cobweb with the fate of the Agyapa royalties deal as the deadline for the admittance of the Initial Public Offer (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) is left with 31 days.

The initial agreements and arrangement with the LSE will lapse by December 31, and the project will cease if the controversies surrounding the deal, which has attracted many opposing parties including international and local Civil Society Groups, the minority in parliament and notable private individuals, are not settled. Recent to join the opposing parties is the Transparency International, which has cautioned the United Kingdom (UK) government and authorities to ditch the Agyapa deal.    

Four weeks before the deadline, the fate of the controversial project is unclear, as it has been returned to Parliament. The generals elections scheduled to take place on December 7 add to this uncertainty. As the international anti-graft institution has cautioned the UK government, if the parliament of Ghana is to approve the deal for the second time, the deal is not going to be out of the woods just yet, as the UK Financial Conduct Authority will need to approve the London Stock Exchange listing of Agyapa Royalties shares.

“In the absence of a thorough investigation into the allegations of corruption, the UK authorities should reject the project, upholding their mission to ‘regulate in a way that adds the most benefit to those who use financial services’”, Transparency International has alarmed in a recent paper it released.  

 

It added that, “The compliance departments of the corporate parties to the deal should also take notice. They should suspend their engagement on the project until the allegations are fully investigated. The investment banks JP Morgan and Bank of America – both of whom are involved in the initial public offering – and the law firm White and Case – who have advised the Ministry of Finance – should not partake in a deal fraught with corruption risks.

 

“When an opportunity for a lucrative new project comes up, it is easy to forget about the normal people who rely on their country’s most valuable resource.

 

“Allegations in a far-away continent may make it difficult for authorities, lawyers and bankers in London to visualise the impact on Ghanaian men, women and children. It is their future that is being mortgaged, however. The loss belongs to every Ghanaian who may never see roads, schools and hospitals being built because those outside the country fail to see through an “innovative financing solution” as a potential façade for embezzlement.”

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