The Danquah Institute is deeply concerned about news from Turkey and in the international media to the effect that 1.5 tons of Ghana’s gold, which was said to be heading for the Islamic Republic of Iran, was seized in Turkey.
The 1.5 tons of gold, worth some $80 million, is said to be “Ghana’s financial commitments to Iran” over a transaction, details of which are not known to the public. Interestingly, this seemingly curious transaction took place over the election period and at the time of the transition. What is also curious is the choice of the President to travel to Turkey around the time of this unspoken crisis and yet this issue has not featured in any official communication about the Presidential trip.
Of particular concern to us at DI is the fact that the cargo plane, operated by ULS Airlines Cargo, which was carrying Ghana’s 1.5 tons of gold was locked up at the Ata Turk airport in Turkey, for “lacking proper documents.” Reports said that Turkish authorities fined the plane $1,910 for stopping at Ataturk Airport on the ground of missing documents.
The question which arises, therefore, is that why would an official transaction involving $80 million worth of gold between the Government of the Republic of Ghana government and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran lack the proper documentation? If indeed, the gold was to settle Ghana’s “financial commitments” to Iran, why would it be missing some crucial documentation necessitating its seizure at the Turkish airport.
The government has so far refused to give any answers to this matter since the plane was seized on January 2, 2013 and the silence from government on a transaction, said to involve some $80 million, is deafening. We, at DI, are demanding full disclosure of this transaction from government for the benefit of the people of Ghana and in the interest off good governance.
A known allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran is that the country evades US sanctions by engaging in a barter-trade system where countries with gold, for instance, purchase crude oil from Iran in return for paying with gold.
For example, from June to November 2012, Iran evaded U.S. sanctions by importing Turkish gold to pay for billions of dollars worth of energy sales to Turkey.
Ghana has been an oil producing country since 2011.. Are Ghanaians aware that we barter with gold with the Islamic Republic of Iran, or any other government for that matter? What is Iran giving Ghana which requires our financial commitments to her be made in gold? Is Ghana’s parliament aware of such a transaction?
Our checks reveal that there is no such arrangement between Ghana and Iran to the effect that our financial commitments to Iran have to be paid in gold.
We are aware of the use of Ghana’s cocoa as collateral for the construction of the Bui hydroelectric dam. We are also well aware of the use of Ghana’s oil as collateral for the $3 billion loan from the China Development Bank.
The Danquah Institute is asking President John Mahama to explain to Ghanaians why the use of our gold to make payments to Iran and why the plane carrying the gold was seized in Turkey for lacking proper documentation.