BoG officials clear Finance Minister in controversial $2.25 bn bond issue

Officials of the Bank of Ghana have exonerated the Minister of Finance in the controversial $2.25 billion bond issued in April, 2017.

The Head of Financial Management Service at the Bank of Ghana, Stephen Opattah insists no single individual can skew the issuance of bonds to favour one person or another.

He also insisted that given the operations of the bond issue it was practically impossible for anyone to predetermine who the investor will be.

His comments made before members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament Tuesday follows allegation by the Minority in Parliament that the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta had “cooked” the $2.25 billion bond issue for his friend and business partner Trevor Trefgarne who is director of Franklyn Templeton, the company that bought 95% of the bond.

Trevor is also Director of Enterprise Group Ltd, a company in which the Finance Minister partially owns.

A former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson who addressed a press conference on behalf of the Minority in Parliament says Trevor took advantage of the business connection he has with the Finance Minister in order to win a deal the vice president had described as the “deal of the year.”

According to him, the deal was shrouded in secrecy and sold off to Franklyn Templeton.

The Minority has called for a Parliamentary inquisition into the deal and further threatened to proceed to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice for a thorough investigation to be conducted into the deal.

Officials of the Bank of Ghana, who were key players in the bond issued appeared before the committee to answer queries from the 2015 Auditor General’s Report about foreign exchange receipts and payments.

However MP for Effutu Afenyo Markins for the second time smuggled in the question on the controversial $2.25 billion bond after his first attempt was shot down by the chairman of the Accounts Committee James Avedzi.

He got the answer from both Stephen Opattah and the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana Johnson Asiamah.

“In such a system you cannot predetermine who the investor will be,” Opatta said.

On the part of the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana Johnson Asiamah it is impossible for a bond to be issued in secrecy.

According to him, in the beginning of the year government announces its borrowing plans which is available for all investors and potential investors bid for it and can therefore not be a secret transaction.

But the MP for Keta Richard Quarshigah is standing by the Minority’s claim.

He explained to Joy FM’s Evans Mensah on Top Story the deal was an international transaction which ought to have received Parliamentary approval.

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