Vice President of policy and education think-tank, IMANI Ghana, Bright Simmons, has asserted that per the transaction agreements contained in the Agyapa Royalties deal, the transaction is to elapse by December 31, 2020.
The elapse of the transaction, Mr Simmons noted will also imply that Agyapa will not be listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) as planned after the Special Prosecutor’s anti-corruption risk assessment of the transaction.
Mr Simmons assertion is backed by his view that, the zero appetite of Members of Parliament – both members of the ruling party as well as the opposition – to review the transaction as part of parliamentary proceedings as well as the unlikelihood of the investment banks hired by Government – JP Morgan and Bank of America – to undertake the listing of Agyapa on the LSE, given the Special Prosecutor’s findings after his assessment of the deal.
“The current transaction agreements which have been found problematic by the Special Prosecutor and sent back to Parliament requires substantial changes and review by Parliament which cannot be done before December 31, 2020. Because in the transaction agreements, Agyapa elapses on December 31, 2020,” he told norvanreports on Tuesday.
“And what that also means is that, we can’t have Agyapa being listed on the LSE by December after the Special Prosecutor’s anti-corruption risk assessment of the deal, because now per the Special Prosecutor’s findings, which is that the deal smacks of corruption and conflict of interest, no investment bank in the world and even those hired by Government to undertake the IPO listing would want to touch the transaction,” he added.
Mr Simmons speaking to norvanreports on the sidelines of the 8th Pan African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation themed; The Ghana We Want Post COVID-19: Optimizing Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) from the Extractive Sector for Ghana’s Transformation, noted that given the imminent elapse of the Agyapa Royalties transaction, Government would have to start with transaction all over again and urged Government to this time use a better approach than it previously did.
Speaking further he noted that, the best approach to be used by Government after the current transaction has elapsed will be to rather monetize Government’s 10 per cent equity stake in mining firms which which are more risky and for many years now has not been bringing dividends to Government rather than monetizing its royalties which are less risky and have constantly provided Government with a revenue stream.
Also, moving forward, not all the 75.6 per cent of the royalties available to Government should be used for any transaction – whether Agyapa or any sort of transaction – royalties used for transactions should be significantly reduced to provide the needed flexibility of future Governments being able to get revenue from royalties.
In addition, he called for an open tender process for interested companies to come bid for the deal as done in the bond market instead of the restricted tendering process undertaken in the current transaction as well as to dialogue Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media on the new transaction for transparency and accountability purposes.
This, when done, he told norvanreports, would prevent the circumvention of procurement laws, transparency and conflict of interest measures, as evidenced in the current Agyapa Royalties transaction.