I visited Amidu at home during assessment of Agyapa deal – Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta has said he visited former Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu at home at the time Mr Amidu was carrying out the corruption risk assessment on the Agyapa deal.

Mr Ofori-Atta said this when asked by Member of Parliament for Asawase Muntaka Mubarak whether as Finance Minister in the first administration of President Akufo-Addo he visited Mr Amidu during the assessment on the agreement, during his day two vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Friday.

“I did visit him at home,” he answered.

He added “I had gone to the office and they indicated to me he was not feeling well and so I did go to visit him at home.”

During Day one of his vetting on Thursday March 25, he took a swipe at the Martin Amidu over the corruption risk assessment done on the Agyapa Royalties agreement.

He told the committee that Mr Amidu failed to give him the opportunity to respond to the claims made against him in the report.

Mr Amidu claimed that the $1bn mineral royalties agreement could lead to corruption.

Mr. Ofori-Atta maintained that the transaction was transparent and executed in consonance with the laws and procedures of the country.

He was reacting to what he described as the deficiencies and flaws pointed out by the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu in an Analysis of Corruption and Anti-Corruption Assessment conducted on the request of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

The Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), representing the government of Ghana, set up Agyapa Royalties Limited, a limited liability company, to receive Ghana’s gold royalties.

In a response to President Akufo-Addo dated October 30, 2020, after Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu had submitted his work, the Finance Minister insisted that: “There is no justifiable reason for concluding that the current members of the MIIF Board will jeopardize their apparent professional integrity and reputations to engage in corrupt practices motivated by partisan considerations”.

The Special Prosecutor pointed out that the engagement of IMARA Corporate Finance Limited (Pty) (Imara), a South African firm, as Transaction Advisor did not receive parliamentary approval.

Additionally, the Special Prosecutor raised concerns about the partnership of Databank Limited and IMARA and the payment of $15,000 monthly retainer for 12 months during the evaluation and recommendation phase of the deal and $4 million as a success fee.

Databank was co-founded by Mr Ofori-Atta but he resigned from the firm years before taking up politics and being appointed as Finance Minister but his ties with the firm have raised questions in various transactions.

The Special Prosecutor believes the Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, did not have the authority to carry out and sign an agreement on that scale on behalf of the country but the Minister.

But answering questions during his vetting, Mr Ofori-Atta said “To then go on to accept, acknowledge a document in which your citizens were not able to give their views on that is not something we should encourage. We broke no rule and I think the Attorney General should be able to give an assessment on that. I do not believe that we broke any rule by the way which the procurement was done.”

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