The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has subtly taken a swipe at the Minority in Parliament over the issuance of the $2.25 billion domestic bond, saying they lack understanding of the actual processes involved.
“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,” he said.
The Finance Minister made the comment on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, when he was summoned before the House to explain processes leading to the issuance of the $2.25 billion bond.
This comes on the back of a similar tag the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, used in describing the Minority over the same issue saying they were “.”
Making a statement in Parliament in response to a half-hour motion passed bythe House for a full disclosure on the bond, the Finance Minister insisted that the processes involved were devoid of infractions and improper procedures.
He said during the issuance of the bond, the Ministry of Finance “had no direct dealings with investors.”
“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 added.
Mr. Ofori-Atta added that “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,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has expressed dissatisfaction with the depth of information provided to the House by the Finance Minister. Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Ato Forson, contended that the Minister failed to respond to relational interests between himself and an alleged Director of Franklin Templeton. He maintained that the information provided by government is incomplete.
Parliament last week summoned the Finance Minister to provide detailed information on the recent 2.25 billion dollar bond issued by Government following a half hour motion filed by the Minority in Parliament.
Concerns have been raised especially by the Minority about the transparency of the $2.25 billion domestic bond government issued, with some noting that the apparent secrecy over the deal fueled the allegations of conflict of interest against the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta.
The Minority in its conflict of interest allegations, said a non-executive director on the board of Investment Firm, Franklin Templeton, who purchased 95 percent of the $2.25 billion bond, is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group, which has links to the Attorney-General and the Finance Minister.
The Minority eventually called for a full-scale parliamentary probe into the bond issue.
The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, who was petitioned by Private Legal Practitioner, Victor Adawudu to furnish him with details on the bond which was issued in April, said she did not have the needed information. She indicated that, details on the said bond the Lawyer is seeking to retrieve are unavailable to her.
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(Via: CitiFM Online Ghana)