A group calling itself Dynamic Youth Organisation of Ghana, has sued the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, the Attorney General and the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice [CHRAJ] over the $2.25 billion bond issue.
This comes weeks after CHRAJ cleared the Finance Minister of conflict of interest allegations following a petition forwarded by a known National Democratic Congress (NDC) member, Brogya Genfi.
[contextly_sidebar id=”ouueERM8UAv6gZ69XsaLE8VRgjprejHl”]CHRAJ in its report had stated that “on the basis of the evidence available to the Commission, it has come to the conclusion and therefore holds that, the allegations by the complainant that the respondent has contravened Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution by putting himself in a conflict of interest situation in relation to the issuance of the 5-year, 7-year, 10-year and 15-year bonds, have not been substantiated.”
But the Convener for this new group, Edward Tutor, speaking on Eyewitness News explained that, the decision to clear Mr. Ofori Atta of any wrongdoing contravenes Article 284 of the constitution.
Mr. Tutor said their suit is to therefore to invoke the Supreme Court to interpret Article 284 of the 1992 constitution.
“Yes indeed, it is true that CHRAJ has conducted investigations into the accusations of conflict of interest on the $2.25 billion bond, but when we took a look at the CHRAJ report, one thing we found outstanding was that there seemed to be a dichotomy between the methodology applied by CHRAJ and its final conclusions. And I will give you one typical example. CHRAJ alluded in its report that the Finance Minister did not disclose three companies that he has interest in. These are Data Bank Financial Services, Data Bank Limited and Data Bank Holdings.
“These three companies are in security dealings and for that reason, the Finance Minister finds himself in a potential conflict of interest scenario. However, because the Finance Minister did not benefit directly from the said transaction, it means he is cleared of conflict of interest. We are all aware of Article 284. The Article says that as a public official, you should not even find yourself in a conflict of interest situation in the first place. The framers of the constitution did not say that you should find yourself there but do not benefit. We believe the decision taken by CHRAJ to interpret 284 and based on that interpretation sought to clear the Finance Minister looks a bit dicey …There is therefore the need for the Supreme Court to be invoked to interpret Article 284…This is why we are moving to the Supreme Court,” Mr. Tutor explained.
Mr. Tutor expressed the hope that the suit will bring “clarity and finality” to the matter.
CHRAJ commenced the investigations six months ago after Mr. Genfi, petitioned it in April 2017, to investigate Ken Ofori-Atta’s position in the issuance of the bond.
According to Mr. Genfi, Ken Ofori-Atta, secured 95 percent of the bond for his family and friends.
He said Mr. Ofori Atta “has attempted to promote a private or personal interest for himself or for some family members and business associates, and the promotion of the private interest has resulted in, or was intended to result in, or appears to have resulted in, or has the potential to result in an interference with the objective exercise of his duties and an improper benefit or an advantage by virtue of his position.”
According to him, the bonds were not on the issuance calendar, and that the transaction seemed to have been shrouded in secrecy with the bond processes being limited to one day compared to past processes that were open.
Mr. Genfi said one single investor, Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, an American global investment management organisation founded in 1947 purchased 95 percent of the bond issued.
He insisted that “a relational interest existed between the Minister of Finance and Mr Trevor G Trefgarne, who in a semi-annual report of the Franklin Templeton Investment Limited of December 31, 2016, is one of the Board of Directors of the organisation, while also being the Chairman of the Enterprise Group Limited.”
“Enterprise Group Limited is a company partially owned by Data Bank Limited, a company in which the Finance Minister is known to have significant interest,” Mr Genfi said.
He also complained that Mr. Tevor G Trefgarne and the Minister of Finance had also been described as “great friends.”
Ofori-Atta breached processes in issuance of $2.25bn bond – CHRAJ
CHRAJ found that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, breached certain processes in the issuance of the government’s $2.25bn bond earlier this year.
CHRAJ, in its investigation of a conflict of interest allegation leveled against Ken Ofori Atta by a known member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Brogya Genfi, said although it found no concrete evidence on conflict of interest against the Minister, he [Ken Ofori-Atta] breached several procedures.
In its 140-page report on the matter, CHRAJ made some suggestions to the Minister of Finance to ensure that due diligence is ensured in subsequent deals.
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana