15 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the umbrella name Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance are demanding the immediate suspension of the implementation of the controversial Special Purpose Vehicle, Agyapa Royalties Limited established by government though the Minerals Income Investment Fund.
The CSOs say until there is full disclosure on the beneficial ownership of the Special Purpose Vehicle, Agyapa Minerals Royalties, the implementation of the deal should be deferred.
Parliament last Friday approved five agreements to allow the country to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetise its mineral income accruing to the country in a sustainable and responsible manner, in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978).
The approval gives Agyapa Royalties Limited, the legal backing to secure about $1 billion to enable government finance large infrastructural projects.
But Chairman of the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, Dr. Steve Manteaw at a press conference on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, said the deal is opaque, lacks oversight arrangements, and places Agyapa Royalties above the country’s tax laws.
“The recent amendment of the Minerals Income Investment Fund creates more suspicion. The rushed amendment and inserting worrying clauses including clauses that leaves a special purpose vehicle; Agyapa Royalties above Ghanaian tax laws, outweighs Ghana’s immunity and by that, expose Ghana to the risk of damaging lawsuits should any future government seek to reverse this transaction.”
“What we find even more repulsive about this whole transaction is the provision that permits Agyapa Royalties, a supposed company of the sovereign state, to register in tax payments to borrow money or raise equity in foreign currency from any source on the back of the gold royalties of Ghanaians without the requirement of any further approval, consent and administrative Act of the Government of Ghana. This provision takes Agyapa Royalties away from parliamentary oversight and control”, he added.
Already, the deal has been criticised by many who described it as a way of mortgaging Ghana’s mineral resources.
National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Mahama also described the deal as questionable whilst a presidential aspirant of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), William Dowokpor, called it fraudulent.
Defence of deal
But the Minerals Income and Investment Fund (MIIF) has defended the integrity of the agreements to monetise the country’s gold royalties through Agyapa Royalties Limited.
Describing it as a “forward-thinking” endeavour, the Fund said the deal was “being created with Ghanaians’ best interests at heart.”
It assured of its transparency noting that it was listed on both the Ghana and London Stock Exchange, which mandates full disclosure from shareholders.
The Fund further refuted claims it was owned by President Akufo-Addo.
It said, currently, MIIF is the sole shareholder of Agyapa Royalties, an SPV that is expected to be listed on the London and Ghana Stock exchanges.
“Regardless of who is in power, the MIIF is the custodian of Ghana’s future mineral revenues in terms of the MIIF Act.”
“In general, Ghanaians will benefit because the capital raised “will finance strategic capital investments such as infrastructure and also mining in collaboration with local equity participants to spur socio-economic development,” it added.