The main opposition National Democtratic Congress (NDC) has given the Akufo-Addo government a seven days ultimatum to come clean on some shady deals surrounding the controversial Agyapa Royalties Deal or else they hit the streets to protest.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the General Secretary of the opposition party said the deal was surrounded by alarming proportions of corruption, unprecedented nepotism and grand thievery to the detriment of the ordinary Ghanaian.
The Agyapa deal, a by-product of the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act which was passed in Parliament in 2018 and established the Fund to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies and receive royalties on behalf of the government, was suspended last month to pave way for a corruption risk assessment.
The deal to manage the fund had been kicked against by many civil society organisations. But President Akufo-Addo wants it back on the deliberation table to be reconsidered before Parliament rises, and has ordered Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Ata to lead the crusade despite red flags being flanked by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu.
Asiedu Nketiah noted that the NDC and “several patriotic Civil Society Organizations such as IMANI, ISODEC, PIAC, ASEPA, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), IDEG, the Coalition of CSOs on the Extractive Sector, among several others, have long maintained, that the “Agyapa” deal is a bad deal for Ghana.”
The NDC chief scribe observed that just as the Special Prosecutor, they in the NDC has found that “the Mandate Agreement under which billions of cedis have been paid to companies like Databank, which is owned by the President’s cousin and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta; African Legal Associates, which is owned by another cousin of President Akufo Addo, Gabby Otchere Darko and their foreign partners, are illegal and therefore null and void. ”
He continued, “What Ghanaians must be interested in at this stage, are the steps the Akufo Addo government is taking to retrieve the illegal payments that they have made to these companies. This is because, you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. If the agreements under which these companies were made are null and void, then so are the payments made thereto, hence must be refunded to the State.”
It is against this backdrop that the NDC has issued a notice to the government to retrieve the monies from the family members of President Akufo-Addo in a week to avoid a massive protest on the streets of Accra, stating that “the NDC is appalled by the refusal of President Akufo Addo to crack the whip on the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta who supervised this daylight heist, and his Deputy, Charles Adu Boahen, who fraudulently signed the Mandate Agreement when he had no locus to do so under our laws. ”
“It is sad but unsurprising, that these government officials who are responsible for the shady Agyapa deal which has occasioned a huge financial loss to the nation, are still at post. In any serious country, Ken Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen would have been suspended pending criminal investigations or under criminal prosecution by now. Sadly, in our case, President Akufo Addo has decided to shield these corrupt officials from punishment, as he usually does.” Asiedu Nketiah added.
The NDC General Secretary said the attitude of President Akufo Addo “who has earned the unenviable reputation of being the “Chief Corruption Clearing Agent”, does not come as a surprise to us in the NDC” but had to pile up pressure on the government to refund the monies back to the state.