$2bn bond: SEC petition won’t derail us – Govt
Government has said the decision by the Minority in Parliament to petition the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States in connection with the $US2.25 billion bond issued by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, will not derail its focus.
The US regulatory body will probe the issue in which US-registered company – Franklin Templeton purchased 95 per cent of the 15-year and 7-year bonds.
The SEC will primarily be investigating suspected conflict of interest and insider trading which are violations of US law by Mr Trevor G. Trefgarne, who is a Director of Franklin Templeton and a Board Chairman of Enterprise Group – a company owned and founded by Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
The Minority’s complaint was filed with the Enforcement Division of the SEC in Washington DC on 1 May 2017 by Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on behalf of the group.
In a response, the SEC thanked the Minority for the fruitful engagement and provided a reference number for the case as: TCR1493656314549.
A statement signed by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, said the Minority had also observed the interest shown in the matter by Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) after receiving a petition from a private citizen and assured Ghanaians that the investigation being conducted by the United States’ regulatory body will not conflict nor undermine CHRAJ’s investigation.
“The Minority takes this opportunity to re-emphasise our commitment and cooperation in assisting with both investigations in any way we can in the supreme national interests of Ghana and the United States of America,” the statement added.
Speaking about the petition in an interview with Moro Awudu on the sidelines of the National Policy Summit at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) on Tuesday, 16 May, Deputy Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said: “They are at liberty to do that. They are exercising rights that are available to us under this democracy and I don’t think anybody has a problem with that. That will not take away from the work we are doing.”
“Remember initially when they came up with the comments, they made a lot of allegations and government responded and when people began to understand it and realised that this was actually a good deal, they realised that what they were trying to do with it was not biting and we were moving on and delivering,” he added.
According to him, the Minority “have tried to create a lot of cloud in the sky as if something untoward has happened but they are at liberty to pursue those processes. It will not change, in anyway, the focus that we have.”
The government’s debt management strategy and the manner the Akufo-Addo government want to apply it, in the estimation of the Ofoase-Ayeribi MP, may not be understood by the Minority, thus their behaviour. “I think we understand if they have difficulties in appreciating how it is happening and even if they suspect there is something untoward and I can understand it.”
“You recall that last year the Honourable Seth Tekper, Finance Minister at the time, went on a road show abroad, plenty ticket, hotel bills etc., trying to raise money and there was an auction failure because they could not convince the investing public to invest in their economic model and strategy. The Honourable Ken Ofori-Atta and the economic management team of government sat in Ghana, designed a budget and invested scheme and pumped in $2.25million,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah noted.