The Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Yaw Brogya Genfi, has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), in his capacity as a citizen of Ghana, to investigate the recent $2.25billion bond issued by the government of Ghana.
Mr. Genfi’s petition, follows assertions by the Minority in Parliament that, Mr. Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director at Franklin Templeton, the institution that bought 95 per cent of the bond, is also a Director at Enterprise Group Limited, a company of which Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, is co-founder, thus, raising issues of transparency, conflict of interest, and suspicion.
Following the allegations, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said the Minority were displaying ignorance about economic issues and asked them to do a little reading to cure their ignorance.
“So they need to understand, maybe they should read a little, but they need to understand what took place: we issued a cedi bond, there’s no secrecy to the matter, it was very well invested in. The holders have invested many times in Ghana in bonds that were in place when Seth Terkper issued them, they bought them, 24 per cent interest rate. This time it is 19%, we are doing even much better, but this is what politics has been reduced to, trying to say things which really have no basis and are basically wrapped in ignorance, and, so, I’m a bit sad for Ghana and for them because they are really demonstrating a lot of ignorance in the process of managing this economy,” Dr Bawumia said.
His comments angered the Minority, who demanded an apology.
Following the back-and-forth, Mr Gyamfi petitioned CHRAJ saying: “A number of issues of conflict of interest and lack of transparency have emerged from the bond issuance. It is imperative that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) investigates same to protect the national interest as per its mandate under article 218 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”
Many economists, including Dr. John Gatsi and Kenneth Thompson of the Dalex Finance, had described the financial arrangement as shady, expensive, unlawful and heavily laden with conflict of interests.
The US$2.25 billion bond, appears cooked by family and friends of Finance Minister Ken Ofori -Atta. His two companies Data Bank and Enterprise Insurance, his friends and business partners; Keli Gadzekpo and Trevor G. Trefgarne; Chairman of the Enterprise Group, his wife, Dr. Angela Ofori-Atta, have all been mentioned in connection to the money with the Minority calling for a full scale investigation into the controversy.
Industry experts, have also spoken against it and have raised a potential dip in investor confidence with Ghana, in a recent interview with Accra based Citi FM, the Attorney General, who is the principal legal advisor of the Government in an angry outburst, said she was not aware of the Bond deal and was hearing about it for the first time from the interviewer.
Mr. Gyamfi’s petition is seen as the start of a long list of legal challenges that will hit Ken Ofori Atta.