I am writing about it, after having read about it nearly three weeks later; so there is bound to be a few slips and omissions here and there, though I am also quite certain that my appreciation for the gist of it has not been fundamentally altered mnemonically. You see, memory can be very treacherous from time to time, if not all the time. I am here, of course, alluding to the news article that surfaced on a legion of media portals, when the so-called Agyapa Royalties Investment Deal made the global Ghanaian news headlines.
The article was captioned “Report: Agyapa Deal ‘Unconscionable’ – Attorney-General” StarrFM.com / Ghanaweb.com 8/28/20). In the main, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms. Gloria Akuffo, was reported to have vehemently decried and protested certain conditions attached to the Agyapa Royalties Investment Deal that was scheduled to be shortly traded on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), as well as the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), having been duly approved by the august House of Parliament, largely along partisan lines.
Now, what the Agyapa Deal entails, essentially, is the mortgaging of Ghana’s mineral resources, actually royalties accruing from the extraction of the country’s oil and other mineral resources, in exchange for the massive infusion of fiscal resources for the rapid industrial and infrastructural development of the country. In of itself, the Agyapa Deal is a very progressive national investment and development strategy, especially when one reckons the dastardly attempt, only some four years ago, by former President John “Akonfem-Kanazoe” Dramani Mahama to gift humongous chunks of concessions of the country’s mineral resources, at virtually no cost, to his younger half-brother, Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, of Engineers and Planners global infamy.
We are informed that the Attorney-General’s chief concern here was the fact that the Agyapa Deal had been illegally and unconstitutionally crafted because it “unconscionably” denuded the two other branches of democratic checks-and-balances governance, namely, the legislature, which voted to approve the deal, largely and characteristically along political party lines, and the judiciary of their respective constitutional authority to review the deal in the foreseeable future. In principle, I unreservedly agree with the position taken by Attorney-General Akuffo, which is that the Agyapa Deal must follow the same procedural protocol as all other constitutionally stipulated and sanctioned contractual deals. Which is that it must be open to legislative and judicial review at anytime deemed to be necessary and in the interest of the country.
Well, I am writing with knowledge of another report provided to the media by an interested party to the deal whose credibility and integrity have long been deemed to be questionable on my part for quite sometime now, to the effect that Attorney-General Akuffo has, somehow, made a U-Turn on her widely reported initial protest against the deal. I will come to a critical analysis of what might have motivated Ms. Akuffo, allegedly, to change her legally informed disapproval of the deal, as it is known to be presently crafted, which, by the way, we learn that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has yet to place his official seal and signature or stamp of approval upon. For now, what is significant to note is that the Agyapa Royalties Investment Deal has a bounden obligation to pass muster. If the latter contractual ingredient is woefully lacking, as has been widely alleged in several expert quarters in the country, then, of course, at least a temporary kibosh ought to be placed on the deal until all the relevant stakeholders have been able to reach an amicable and legally and morally acceptable consensus.
It goes without saying that the country’s mineral and natural resources belong to each and every one of us, that is, all Ghanaian citizens, both at home and abroad, as well as posterity. It does not really matter whoever thinks they know much more or better about how these deals are struck or cut than the rest of us dunce-cap-wearing citizens and petty chieftains. Our collective approval cannot be cavalierly ridden roughshod over. A word to the wise…
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
September 18, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]