Transparency International has urged UK Financial Conduct Authority to make detailed enquiries into government of Ghana’s application to list Agyapa Royalties Limited on the London Stock Exchange and to reject the listing if corruption concerns are not satisfactorily addressed.
Ghana is proposing to sell almost 76% of its future receipts from gold royalties from 16 large gold mines to special corporate vehicle in the British overseas territory of Jersey known as tax haven and secrecy jurisdiction.
Forty nine percent of the shares in Agyapa Royalties are to be sold thorough listing on the London Stock Exchange. The controversial deal has already led to the resignation of the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu.
Government has defended the Agyapa deal describing it as the best deal for Ghana’s gold. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance who been defending the Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited arrangement not long ago expressed his joy about the listing of Agyapa Royalty Company in London as the first royalty company of that nature in Africa.
The Finance Minister bemoaned the situation where a country like Ghana that had mined gold since the 15th century with the Portuguese could not boast of any international listed company either in gold or in cocoa.
But, in submission of FCA-and forwarded to J.P Morgan, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch International and Law Firm and Case- Transparency International detailed concerns shared by almost 30 Ghanaian and International Civil Society Organisation that the deal of smack of corruption.
Linda Ofori Kwafo, the Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Ghana Chapter of Transparency International said: “There are serious red flags in how this deal was set up. Concerns have been raised by civil actors around inadequate stakeholder consultation, transparency and the valuation of the deal. Other concerns bother on the way transaction advisors became involved in the process and the lack of public oversight over the company at the heart of the deal. It is crucial for Ghana and the Western financial institutions and regulators involved in this deal take these concerns seriously. They must not facilitate schemes that may end up plundering Ghana’s mineral resources in the name of investment”.