The Alliance of Civil Society Organizations working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good governance has raised several concerns posing some five important questions with respect to the establishment of the Agyapa Royalties Investment Limited.
During a press conference on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, described the implementation of the Mineral Royalties Investment Fund Act
as opaque and hasty which raises moral and governance questions, with regards to the creation of Agyapa Royalties Ltd which many have said is questionable.
The Alliance of CSOs, in calling on the government to come clean on the matter, quizzed the government if managers and directors of Agyapa Royalties are not politically exposed persons. They also queried the government on the dividend policy of Agyapa Royalties as this, they argue, will inform Ghanaians on how investors benefit from the royalties of the state.
Notable among the questions posed to government is the use of $500 million for investments, out of the raised $1 billion by Agyapa Royalties.
“Again, it beats our imagination as to why an entity, without a corporate strategy, and approved spending plans, will proceed to raise $1 billion and cede US$500 million to the government in such indecent haste. And What will Agyapa Royalties be investing the remaining $500 million dollars in?”, the CSO’s pointed out.
Below are the five questions which have been raised by the Civil Society groups which work in the extractive sector in Ghana. In there the leader of the group who read the full statement during their press conference said, “the We acknowledge, ladies and gentlemen, that postmortem attempts are being made to engage the public by the MIIF to provide answers to some questions Ghanaian have on the Agyapa transaction. This, in fact, underscores the point that prior engagements would have better served the national course and deepened consensus on the policy. Regardless of the attempt to clarify some concerns, significant questions remain unanswered:
- Are the managers and directors of Agyapa not politically exposed persons, and were they not selected through a non-competitive process? Just last week, we sighted a call for expression of interest, placed in the Daily Graphic, inviting prospective consultants for the development of a strategic plan for the Mineral Income Investment Fund. While we welcome the open and transparent process for the firm selection relative to this assignment, we have not found evidence of the same openness in the creation of the SPV and the appointment of its directors. Again, it beats our imagination as to why an entity, without a corporate strategy, and approved spending plans, will proceed to raise $1 billion and cede US$500 million to the government in such indecent haste, especially when there is no known national emergency to warrant such rush.
- Were the transaction advisers and legal intermediaries not handpicked by the government, and are they not politically exposed persons?
- What is the dividend policy on the investment being sought on the London Stock Exchange (LSE)? This is a crucial part of the entire transaction which will tell Ghanaians how the investors will benefit from the royalties of the state. This also allows the public to see whether indeed the deal is beneficial or not. Shockingly, parliament showed no interest in this and rather waved its oversight.
- To convince Ghanaians that this is a good deal, don’t we need to know how the Agyapa investments compare with other investment options?
- Agyapa Royalties is going to invest risk-free royalties on investments unknown to the state. Don’t we need to know the level of risk the royalties will be exposed to, and how those risks will be mitigated by the managers of Agyapa Royalties? What will Agyapa be investing the $500 million dollars in? This interestingly was not before parliament. Neither did the House demand for the investment options before approving the transaction. In essence, Parliament has agreed to cede Ghana royalties to a company to undertake investments at its pleasure.
Events surrounding the recent amendments of the Mineral Income Investment Fund Act coupled with the hasty implementation of the Act and creation of Agyapa Royalties without the necessary consultations have raised lots suspicion from a greater section of the Ghanaian populace, CSOs and the media.
Agyapa Royalties, a Special Vehicle Purpose (SPV) created through the implementation of the Mineral Income Investment Fund Act, is to aid the country swap its future cash flows from mineral royalties for an immediate $ 1 billion cash.