Not enough reasons to call for Ofori-Atta’s removal – CSOs

Business News of Thursday, 12 November 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

2020-11-12

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Dr Steve Manteaw, Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, has revealed that the civil society organizations (CSOs) that are against the Agyapa deal do not have any basis to call for the sacking of Finance Minister Mr Ken Ofori-Atta over the agreement.

He said it is only when a court of competent jurisdiction has made a pronouncement against the deal that the CSOs will start to call for certain actions which may include sacking, against him.

“It is only when a court of competent jurisdiction has found him guilty that we now can begin to call for certain actions which may include, in the event of the Finance Minister being found guilty, his removal. At this stage, we do not have enough grounds to call for his removal,” Dr Manteaw told TV3’s Komla Adom in an interview after a press conference organised by the CSOs on the deal on Wednesday November 11.

Speaking during the main press conference, he noted that the Agyapa Royalties agreement is bad and should be cancelled.

Dr Manteaw, who is also a member of the Alliance of Civil Society groups working in extractives, called for the abrogation following the corruption risk assessment done by the Special Prosecutor.

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, concluded his assessment of the Agyapa Mineral Royalties agreement and accordingly submitted his report to the president.

“The analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment was completed and signed by the Special Prosecutor on 15th October 2020.

“The Special Prosecutor in a letter with reference number OSP/SCR/20/12/20 dated 16th October 2020 conveyed the conclusions and observations of the anti-corruption assessment to H. E. the President and the Hon. Minister of Finance as a matter of courtesy before informing the public.

“Two weeks is more than too long for this Office to continue withholding the announcement of the completion of its sixty-four (64) page report to the public.

“It is important that this Office has the freedom to discharge its anti-corruption mandate and keep the public informed. I have, therefore, decided to bring the facts of the conclusion of the anti-corruption assessment of the Agyapa Royalties Transactions by this Office to the attention of the public and to avoid the continued speculations on this matter,” Mr Amidu stated.

The president, accordingly, asked the Finance Minister to return the deal to Parliament for it to be reworked on following the assessment done by the Special Prosecutor.

But the CSOs believe merely suspending the deal and directing it to be resent to Parliament at a later date does not cure the several breaches that have been occasioned.

Dr Manteaw said the abrogation of the deal will open up a more consultative process that will protect Ghana’s mineral resources.

“The Special Prosecutor’s report also falls short of recommending actions to cure the potential illegalities and the process breaches outlined in the report.

“While we commend the president for acting on the report, we hold the view that the action directed by the president is inadequate and not sustainable.

“The deal is defective beyond repairs.

“There are potential breaches on various laws, the Public Procurement Act and Financial Management Act.”

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