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Conflict of Interest CHRAJ clears Finance Minister over $2.25bn bonds

The Commission cleared him over allegations of conflict of interest in the issuance of $2.25 billion bonds.

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play Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice has said the allegations of conflict of interest against Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta were unsubstantiated.

The Commission cleared him over allegations of conflict of interest in the issuance of $2.25 billion bonds.

The Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Yaw Brogya Genfi petitioned the CHRAJ, to investigate the $ 2.25 billion bond issued by government.

READ MORE: Finance Minister asks CHRAJ to expedite action on $2.25bn bond petition

The petition follows concerns by the Minority over what they term as "conflict of interest" in the deal, which the Government has vehemently denied.

Brogya Genfi, in his petition, sided with this position, and 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."

The Minority has also demanded the resignation of Ken Ofori Atta over alleged conflict of interest.

The opposition MPs claim a close associate of Mr. Ofori Atta was offered a deal to buy more than 90 percent of the country’s $2.25 billion bond.

The investor, Trevor Tref-game is also the chairman of the Enterprise Group, a company closely aligned to businesses belonging to the Finance Minister.

READ ALSO: Kwaku Kwarteng dares minority to go to court

The Minority accused Ofori Atta of conniving with his business partners to have easy access to the bond, in a deal they described as not transparent.

MP for Bolgatanga Central and Member of the Minority’s Finance team Isaac Adongo said the Minister has been dishonest.

After eight months of investigations, CHRAJ concluded 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."

The decision was contained in a 140-page document detailing the investigations, analysis and conclusions.

READ ALSO: Govt will issue 15 yr bond to clear $ 2.4bn energy debts- Bawumiah tells IMF

CHRAJ, however, said that "There was also no evidence before the Commission that there was a personal benefit to the Respondent or his private businesses and other relations."

It said evidence available to the Commission did not support the Complainant’s allegations that the initial pricing guidelines of the Bond were issued around 5:37 pm on March 30, 2017, by e-mail, which was after normal working hours; or that the transaction was opened at 9:00 a. m. on March 31, 2017; or that the public announcement of the transaction was sent by e-mail at approximately 9:09 am. on March 31, 2017, which meant that the transaction was opened before the announcement was made to the public; and also that the issuance summary was issued on March 31, 2017, at about 4:20 pm. by e-mail indicating that the Bond transaction had been closed and announcement made to the public.

It further said that it did not find evidence that the size of this virtual "private placement" makes it akin to a sovereign bond or foreign loan; or that the Virtual “private placement” approach that was used was opened in the morning and closed in the evening of the same day March 31, 2017; or the 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; or that the Finance Minister issued the bond in a manner that would favour his friend, family, associates and /or business partners, and that the Bond transaction seems to have been shrouded in secrecy.

Read the full report by CHRAJ here: CHRAJ clears Finance Minister over $2.25bn bonds

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