The Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has courted the anger of the Minority in Parliament in his response to their queries of the $2.25 billion bond sold to investment fund Franklyn Templeton at 19%.
The minority insists the vice president was unpresidential in his comments which referred to the minority as “ignorant” people who lacked the basic understanding of a deal that would fundamentally change the fortunes of the economy.
The former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson, who is leading the conflict of interest charge against government said he was shocked such comments would come from the Vice President.
His colleague in Parliament, Richard Quarshigah has demanded an unqualified apology from the vice president.
The Vice President in a town hall meeting organised by Multimedia to herald the 100 days of the Akufo-Addo tenure described the $2.25 billion deal as the “deal of the year.”
The deal he said was essentially part of a strategy to reprofile the country’s debt.
“Many people didn’t understand the transaction and thought that we have gone to borrow $2 billion to add to Ghana’s debt. No! we are actually replacing more expensive debt with less expensive debt and elongating it and making it better for this country,” he said.
Barely a day after his deal of the year comment, the Minority fired a salvo at the government, accusing the Finance Minister of conflict of interest and questioning the propriety of the deal.
Cassiel Ato Forson who spoke for the Minority at a press conference, said one Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director at Franklyn Templeton, the institution that bought 95% of the $2.25 billion bond is also a Director at Enterprise Group Limited, a company the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta is co-founder of.
He claimed Trevor may have influenced the manner in which the bond was issued.
But Dr Mahamudu Bawumia was ruthless in his rebuttal to the charges by the Minority in Parliament.
“This shows a lack of understanding. The Minority has never understood this economy and it is just amazing that people on their side who were actually in charge of managing the economy would be making such statements. It shows ignorance. It really shows ignorance and I am really sad when I hear that from people who should know better,” he told Joy Business’ George Wiafe in Washington DC.
He challenged the minority to read more and get enlightened on the issues.
His response has gotten the Minority angry. Cassiel Ato Forson said the Vice President sounded like who he really is and his comments were “unpresidential”.
He said the Minority has a responsibility to keep government on its toes and accountable to the people, adding they will not be deterred by such unpresidential comments by the vice president.
He was however unequivocal that the supposed deal of the year was a sell out and not in the interest of Ghana.
Even though he admitted that Franklyn Templeton had always done business with the government of Ghana even under the NDC, he was quick to add that this deal was significantly injurious to the interest of Ghana.
According to him, the NDC government issued a 2-year bond at a rate of 24% which is acceptable but to issue a 15-year bond at a rate of 19% was not prudent.
He said the lesser the number of years, the lower the rate it should be but that is not the case with the supposed deal of the year.