Special Prosecutor begins probe into Agyapa deal; requests information from Parliament

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Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has begun a probe into the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal and has written officially to Parliament requesting for information on the deal.

In a September 10, 2020, letter to the clerk of Parliament, the Special Prosecutor said his investigation is in pursuit of his Office’s mandate to exercise the functions and powers of the prevention of corruption.

Joy News’ parliamentary correspondent Joseph Opoku Gakpo reports that the Office of the clerk of Parliament has since begun processes to comply with the directive and has compiled various documents on the transaction which will be dispatched to the special prosecutor on Monday, September 11, 2020.

The documents compiled include the Mineral Income Investment Fund Bill 2018; Mineral Income Investment Fund (Amendment) Bill 2020; and the Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement among the government of Ghana, the Minerals Income Investment Fund, Agyapa Royalties Limited and ARG Royalties Limited in relation to Gold Royalties Monetization.

Other documents complied for submission include the Amended and Restated Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement, the relationship agreement, the assignment agreement, and the indemnity agreement between government and financial institutions handling the deal like Merril Lynch International.

The report of parliament’s Finance Committee on the agreement is also part of the documents to be sent to Martin Amidu.

“I write in pursuant to Sections 2(1) c, 29 and 73 of Act 959 and Regulation 31 (1) and (2) of L. I. 2374 mandates the Office to exercise the functions and powers of the prevention of corruption, to request you to provide this office with information and all documents related to and/or in connection with the approval given by parliament to the Agyapa Royalty Transaction to assist this office to execute its prevention of corruption object,” the letter from the Special Prosecutor to parliament said.

“Your timeous compliance with this statutory notice of request will enable the office to present to government and relevant agencies of government any finding and recommendation on the said transaction or its processes which may be inconsistent with the provisions of articles 257 (6) and 268 of the 1992 Constitution and the existing laws on ownership of all the mineral resources in Ghana and the fiduciary responsibilities entrusted to the president of Ghana as the trustee holding all such mineral resources of the Republic of Ghana in trust for and on behalf of the people of Ghana,” the letter added.

“This Office will be concentrating on any potential of the said transaction to promote and facilitate the suspected commission of corruption and corruption-related offences and advise government accordingly,” Mr Amidu said.

“In view of the public interest generated in this matter in the tense election environment this year, it will be highly appreciated should you make the requested information available to the Office and produce the required documents to this office on or before Tuesday, September 17, 2020,” the letter said.

The letter gave Parliament a 7-day ultimatum to submit the documents.

“In view of the public interest generated in this matter in the tense election environment this year, it will be highly appreciated should you make the requested information available to the Office and produce the required documents to this office on or before Tuesday 17th September 2020,” the letter said.

Parliament on 14th August 2020 approved the Agyapa Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement and 4 related documents to allow for the monetization of Ghana’s future gold royalties.

Under the agreement, Agyapa Mineral Royalties Limited has been incorporated in Jersey near UK to receive and manage royalties from 16 gold mining leases over the next 15 years or so.

In exchange, the firm will list on the London and Ghana Stock Exchanges later this year and raise at least $500 million for government to invest in infrastructure, health and education.

The listing will allow private people to buy 49% stake in the firm. Some 22 civil society organisations including IMANI Africa and African Center for Energy Policy have called for a suspension of the deal, insisting it is not in the interest of the country.

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