Minority's call for a probe into gov’t’s $2bn bond baseless – Assibey Yeboah

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Austin Brako-Powers | Austin.powers@myjoyonline.com
Date: 18th-april-2017 Time:  7:00:44 pm

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The Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee says a call by the minority for a probe into government’s $2.25 billion local bond issue is completely baseless.

Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah told Evans Mensah on Joy FM's Top Story Tuesday the issues raised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs against the bond are not tenuous.

The Minority at a news conference in Accra Tuesday called for a Parliamentary probe into a local bond issued by government on April 3, 2017.

The NDC MPs said the bond, participated by only two investors, was “shrouded in secrecy to the extent that Ghanaian investors were denied the opportunity to participate in the deal.”

The MPs said one of the investors who patronised the bond, Franklyn Templeton, has a link to Enterprise Group Limited of which Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is a co-founder.

They said one Trevor G. Trefgarne, who is the Board Chairman of Enterprise insurance Limited and also on the Franklyn Templeton Investment Company as a Director, might have influenced the manner in which the bond was issued.

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Casiel Ato Forson, said the link between Mr Templeton, who bought 95 percent of the bond, and the Finance Minister amounts to a conflict of interest that requires a probe.

They have threatened to head to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) which is the "conflict of interest jurisdiction" if the Parliamentary probe is not satisfactory.

However, Joy News' checks revealed Mr Trefgarne whom the NDC MPs said was a Director at Templeton Investment Limited as at 21 December, 2016 was not true.

A 2012 audited document of the Investment company listed Mr Trefgarne as one of the Board of Directors, but his name was not mentioned in the December 2016 audited report.

But NDC MP for Bolga Central, Isaac Adongo said information available to them shows Mr Trefgarne is still on the Board of the Templeton Company as at December 31, 2016.

He said there is no way anybody interested in getting a good deal for the country would do what the Finance Minister did with the Government Domestic Bond.

But Mr Assibey Yeboah said this was not the first time Templeton Investment Company has shown an interest in Ghana's bond. "In 2013 and 2015 they showed an interest."

He said the company bought government's Eurobond in 2013 and has since shown an appetite for Ghana's bond. "With a portfolio of about $120 billion they invest in Africa and Sahel."

Mr Assibey Yeboah said the NDC MPs' call for a Parliamentary probe should be extended to the 2013 and 2015 Eurobond issued by former President John Mahama's government.

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