Bond saga: Ofori-Atta must come again – Ricketts-Hagan
A former Deputy Minister of Finance and the Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, has indicated that Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was evasive with his answers relating to the $2.25 billion domestic bond the government issued.
According to him, Mr Ofori-Atta dodged the questions asked by the Minority in Parliament in relation to the transaction, therefore must come again to provide answers to the critical questions that have been asked.
Ghana’s parliament invited the Finance Minister to the floor of the house to answer questions relating to the bond on Wednesday June 7 after the Minority accused Mr Ofori-Atta of conflict of interest and other wrongdoings in the transaction, for which they have petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States to probe the matter.
They said Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, which acquired about 95 per cent of the domestic bond, has a direct relationship with Enterprise Group – a company Mr Ofori-Atta has an interest in.
Accordingly, Mr Ofori-Atta appeared before the House on Wednesday June 7 and explained matters relating to the transaction.
In his explanation, he said the Ministry of Finance “had no direct dealings with investors” in the process of issuing the bond.
He added: “All prospective bidders bid through their primary dealers, who in turn submitted the investor’s bids through the Central Securities Depository platform. The joint transaction advisers then collate these bids to build up a book on which the bonds are issued.
“At no time during the book building process did the Ministry of Finance negotiate with any investor in any way, and it will indeed be quite difficult to manipulate the process when the three financial institutions are governed strictly by the Bank of Ghana’s rules and regulations.”
He insisted: “There were no breaches of integrity either on government’s part or on the joint book runner’s part.
“It may be tempting to say that the apparent attempt to manufacture some form of integrity deficit is generally borne out of a lack of understanding of the actual process.”
But speaking in an interview with Accra News’ Nana Ama Agyarko on Wednesday June 7, Mr Ricketts-Hagan said: “The Finance Minister dodged the questions that we the Minority asked in relation to the bond. He only beat about the bush on the matter.
“All the things he said were irrelevant to the issues we have raised. For instance we asked about the whereabouts of the documentation, especially the prospectors covering this transaction, for every Ghanaian to read, but that was not what he brought.
“I think the explanations are not good enough and he must answer the real questions we have asked.”