The Minority in Parliament has alleged that, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta sold the ninety five percent of Ghana’s recent 2.25 billion dollar bond to friends and cronies. They have therefore called for a full scale investigation into the case since they believe it smells.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, claimed at a press conference on Tuesday that a non-executive director on the board of investment firm, Franklin Templeton that purchased majority of the bonds is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group; a company closely aligned to the private interests of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. “Honourable Trevor Trefgarne is also a Director of Franklin Templeton which is the main participant in the recent bond issue. Putting this apparent fact together, we have a reason to believe that there was a relational interest between our Finance Minister and his good friend Trevor Trefgarne which creates a potential lack of transparency and a conflict of interest. As we all know, the constitution of the republic provides unequivocally that a public officer should not put themselves in a situation where their private interest conflicts with their public obligation. There is no record available to us to the effect that the Finance Minister made known publicly his relational interest that conflicts very much, so in the interest in his company with Trevor Trefgarne to the extent to which the relation might have potentially affected the decision to sell majority of the bonds to Franklin Templeton.”“There is no disclosure as to the extent to which the determination of the price of the bond could have been affected by the relationship between the Finance Minister and his friends; Franklin Templeton. Now that a good link has been established between the Finance Minister and his friend, Trevor, it is clear that the Finance Minister issued the bond in a way that will favour his friends, family and business partners. This situation is best described as cronyism and nepotism.''Meanwhile, a Deputy Minister of Finance Kwaku Kwarteng has called the bluff of the Minority asking them to go to court.He said, there is no truth in the allegation, daring the minority to head to court if the they believe the recent bond issuance was riddled with irregularities.Hon, Kwarteng added, of the bonds that had been issued by government of Ghana since 2015 Franklin Templeton participated and that “they are not some new investors that the Finance Minister[Ken Ofori-Atta] has interest in that we have gone to bring because there is a new administration.”He said: “If anybody says that the finance Minister or some Ministers have friends or have interest in any company and they think is conflict of interest…I have heard that they say they’ll seek parliamentary enquiry or they will go to CHRAJ or they will go to court. I support whatever anybody wants to do.”“I think in the end…the truth will come out and going forward we will be guided by the truth,” he added.