Claim of conflict of interest over $2.2bln local bond imaginary – Gov’t

Politics

Government is insisting nothing untoward happened in the $2.25 billion local bond issued on the Financial market in April this year.

The Minority in Parliament has said the manner the bond was issued was shrouded in secrecy and amounted to a conflict of interest situation.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs said Trevor G. Trefgarne, who is the Board Chairman of Enterprise Insurance Limited and also on the Franklyn Templeton Investment Company as a Director, might have influenced the direction of the bond issued.

Related Article: NDC MPs want Parliamentary probe into govt’s 15-year bond

Deputy Minority leader, James Avedzi Klutsey said there is a link between Franklyn Templeton Investment which won 95 percent of the bond and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

In line with that, the Minority petitioned the United State’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the matter.

It was done after the Ashanti Regional NDC Youth Organiser, Brogya Gyamfi petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Related Article: Our US $2.25bn bond petition is not vote of no confidence in CHRAJ- Ablakwa

In a 17-page response to CHRAJ, government said, “There is no evidence of any act or omission on the part of either the [Finance] Ministry or the Minister supporting an allegation of participation in a business transaction or activity for the benefit of friends or family.”

On the issue of secrecy:

Government said the Minority claim that the bond was not transparent is an untruth.

“The transactions followed the same book building approach that had been used since 2015 to issue domestic bonds,” the statement said.

The opening and closing of the order books, government said did not contravene any law or regulation in the country.

On the initial pricing of the bond:

The government said it is misleading for anyone to claim the initial pricing guidelines of the Bond were issued around 5:37 pm.

“This is a completely false and misleading allegation. We reject it outright and respectfully urge the Commission to reject it as well,” the statement.

Government explained the:

(a) Initial pricing guidelines are not issued by the Ministry of Finance. Under the regulations, they are issued by the Book Runners/Transaction Advisers licensed by the Bank of Ghana – Barclays Bank Ghana, Strategic African Securities and Stanbic Bank Ghana.

(b) On the occasion of the issue of the Bonds in question, the Book Runners by a public announcement on March 30, 2017 at 10.12 am, published details of the Bonds to be issued and sent invitations to all investors before the transaction opened. The initial pricing guidelines were issued on March 30, 2017, 2.04 pm.

The government said it deemed Mr Gyamfi’s allegations “very deplorable” because it was aimed at tainting an otherwise “highly successful financial exercise of great import.”

“[The allegations were]…anchored on blatant falsehoods and manifest unfamiliarity with the regulations and procedure for the issue of Government of Ghana Bonds.”

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