Vice-president at IMANI Africa, Bright Simons has said Imara of South Africa, an independent non-bank financial services group, was used as a cover-up by the Finance Ministry in the Agyapa deal.
He claimed the masterminds of the deal were the ones building the Gold Royalty Company which was intended to maximize the country’s international returns on the natural resource.
In his submission on Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday, the social innovator noted that the bank was included in the transaction after dodging the necessary scrutiny.
“The Agyapa deal team hired these Imara people to serve as a smokescreen to be able to do three things; 1. To bring in Databank without going through the normal scrutiny, 2. So that the deal team would actually be the directing mind and exercise influence over all these transactions while pretending to have delegated. 3. Evolve the mandate from a receivables-backed transaction to a stockmarket listing,” he said Saturday.
Mr Simons’ comments follow the completion of a Corruption Risk Assessment of the controversial Mineral Royalties deal by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).
He described the Finance Minister’s reaction to the findings in the report as “unresponsive as if he does not understand the arguments the Special Prosecutor was making”.
“If we allow everyone to be able to circumvent the Public Procurement Authority that way, we might as well forget the Procurement law,” Bright Simons argued.
In the document published on Monday, the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu stated that there was reasonable suspicion of bid-rigging and corruption activity in the selection process of the deal.
There have been various reactions to the report which raises a number of red flags regarding the deal which was previously passed by Parliament.
In August this year, the OSP, as part of its mandate, requested from the Finance Ministry documents regarding the special purpose vehicle (SPV) which help the country secure about $1 billion to finance infrastructural projects.
This followed criticisms from Civil Society Organisations and other concerned bodies over the transaction.
Before the OSP’s assessment, the Minority in Parliament described the deal as one shrouded in secrecy adding that its nature had the propensity to breed corruption, a position that government has vehemently rejected.
They have called for the withdrawal of the deal because it is very unlikely that their stance on the deal will change even if presented to Parliament a second time.
President Nana Akufo-Addo directed the Finance Minister to send back the Agyapa transaction to Parliament for scrutiny after his office received the details of the Risk Assessment report.
However, the Finance Minister maintains his outfit carried out due diligence with regards to the processes that led to the approval of the Agyapa Royalties Agreement in Parliament.