Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame has spotted several notches in the report of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), report on the $2.25 billion bond issue involving Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Ata.
The inaccuracies, Mr Dame observed, could be used by political opponents of Mr. Ofori-Atta to make scandalous claims against him.
CHRAJ commenced the investigations after a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Yaw Brogya Genfi, petitioned it in April 2017 to investigate Ken Ofori-Atta for conflict of interest in the issuance of 5-year, 7-year, 10-year and 15-year bonds in 2017.
But the Commission after five months of investigations, found the claims against Mr. Ofori-Atta were unsubstantiated.
The Commission, however, found breaches of the rules on the issuance of the bonds. CHRAJ in the 21-point findings in its decision, asked the minister take measures in preventing Primary Dealers who are also bookrunners/Transaction Advisors from gaining an unfair advantage because of their dual roles.
“Respondent is either a director, former director or shareholder, or beneficial owner, of several companies whose objects relate to the securities market sector. The companies include Databank and EGL. As such, Respondent’s interests in the growth and wellbeing of those companies, have the potential to conflict with the interests of the state in relation to the securities market such as the issuance of bonds.”
But speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday, Godfred Dame, who represented the Minister during CHRAJ’s probe whilst asserting the fact his client was exonerated the Commissioner, raised concerns over what he said were several erroneous statements made in the report that “they themselves [CHRAJ] have made express in the favour of Mr Ofori-Atta.”
“I think that what they have done provides unnecessary ammunition to mischief makers and of course those mischief makers are in the minority [NDC]…The effect of it is to unnecessarily arm people with some weapon or ammunition to be heaping unnecessary scandal on the person of Mr. Ken Ofori Atta," he stressed.
That, he believes, “will mislead the public into thinking that the experience of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta rather will be an inhibition or a hindrance to the efficient conduct of his functions [and it] is unfair."
He argued that Ghana should rather consider herself fortunate to have a finance Minister who understands the securities industry as well as the capital markets due to his experience and broad knowledge in the financial sector.
Mr. Dame also faulted CHRAJ for failing to apply its own principle of a fair hearing, when it stated in the report that the Finance Minister did not fully declare his assets.
“Nowhere throughout our dealings with CHRAJ was such an issue brought to our attention so I do not know how they purport to make that finding,” he told Kojo Yankson, host of the Show.
The Deputy A-G described as “incorrect” the claim that the Finance Minister and his spouse were both business partners.
“A close scrutiny of the profiles of these companies will disclose that he has never at any point in time been a director in a company together with his spouse. At all times he was a director and he resigned. In most of them he resigned as far back as 2002 and 2015. How can a person be a director through his spouse? It’s not possible in law.”
That notwithstanding, Mr. Dame is content that “CHRAJ has come to a definite conclusion, quite unambiguously, that he (Ken Ofori-Atta) was not culpable of any wrongdoing, abuse of office [and] conflict of interest.”