There is no conflict of interest as far as the recent issuance of government’s $2.25 billion domestic bond is concerned, President of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, has said.
“To be fair, I am struggling to see the conflict of interest,” he noted.
Ninety-five per cent of the $2.25 billion domestic bond issued by the Government of Ghana is indebted to a non-resident creditor, Franklin Templeton
At a press conference on Tuesday, the Minority, led by former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson, said Mr Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director at Franklin Templeton, is also a Director at Enterprise Group Limited, a company of which Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is co-founder, thus, raising issues of transparency, conflict of interest and suspicion.
However, the president of the Ghanaian think tank does not agree with the assertion of conflict of interest.
For him, the bid for 95 per cent of the bonds is a global business strategy of the firm. Moreover, considering the participation of the firm in transactions with previous governments, he found it far-fetched to justify the issue of conflict of interest.
The Minority also held the view that the involvement of the US-based firm changed the dynamics of the bond from being a domestic one to an international transaction that needed parliamentary scrutiny and approval.
“We…wish to point out that this bond issue is clearly an international economic/business transaction within the meaning of article 181 (5) of the Constitution,” it said.
“Therefore, we expected that the bond issuance would have been brought to parliament for approval. This is because although the transaction appears as to be a domestic sale of bonds, it is in truth a ‘private placement’ and an international economic transaction given the fact that Franklyn Templeton is a United States registered company and, therefore, qualifies as a foreign entity under article 181 (5) of the constitution. We, therefore, call on the Finance Minister to provide parliament with the full complement of documentation on this transaction for scrutiny and ratification.”
On the matter of approval, Mr Cudjoe, who was a guest on Citi FM’s The Big Issue on Saturday, April 22, concurred with the Minority, expressing the view that such issues must be tabled in parliament for discussions before the country goes ahead with such bonds.
“All these issues that we ever get involved in, whether domestic or external, must eventually have some approval, at least at parliamentary level,” he told the host Umaru Sandah.
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