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06.06.2017 Politics

$2.25bln Bond: Minority threatens Finance Minister with contempt if...

Politics $2.25bln Bond: Minority threatens Finance Minister with contempt if...

The Minority in Parliament is threatening to slap contempt charges on Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta should he fail to furnish the House with adequate information on the $2.25 billion local bond issued in April.

The Minister will appear before Parliament come Wednesday to discuss circumstances surrounding the issuance of the bond which has dominated discussions for months.

Former Deputy Finance Minister and Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson says the resolution of the House which led to the summon of the Minister must strictly be adhered to when he appears before them.

Questions have been asked about the transparency of the domestic bond government issued in April, with some claiming it was carried out in an atmosphere of secrecy. There was also the claim the bond issued amounted to a conflict of interest situation against the Finance Minister.

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Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson

According to the Minority, the involvement of Trevor G. Trefgarne, a non-executive director on the Board of Investment Firm who purchased 95 percent of the $2.25 billion bond raises questions. Mr Trefgarne also doubles as the Chairman of the Enterprise Group and he is said to have a link to Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo and the Finance Minister.

Parliament last week passed a half hour motion to compel the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to provide detailed information on the bond issued by government within seven days.

The motion was filed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, with a request for the full complement of documentation related to the issuance, the participants, the utilisation of proceeds and the currency in which the bond was settled.

Speaking to Joy News’ parliamentary correspondent Tuesday, Mr Forson said the documentation of the bond would help settle the controversy surrounding the issuance of the bond.

He said they want Mr Ofori-Attah to present to the House the full complement of the details of the bond as agreed and "not in the form of a statement as we did not ask for a statement but documentation."

“It will be contempt of parliament for him to come and present a statement as the resolution is clear, straightforward with no ambiguity,” he said.

The Member of Parliament for Ejumako-Enyan-Essiam said presentation of the details of the bond issued will put the matter to rest 'once and for all.'

He also said the Minority are not going to pre-empt what the Minister is likely to say when he appeared but added they will react after the encounter.

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Deputy Majority Whip, Matthew Nyindam
However, Deputy Majority Whip, Matthew Nyindam said the support for the half-hour motion by the Majority Leader shows the commitment of the Majority to working in the interest of mother Ghana and not the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

He said President Akufo-Addo's government is an open one so when the Finance Minister faces the House Wednesday [tomorrow], he will speak to all the details including how the money realised would be spent.

“We promised good governance and we will deliver that as we have nothing to hide. We want to play our oversight responsibility and deliver proper accountability,” he said.

The Kpandai MP said the Majority will not play dodgy tactics as the NDC Minority did when they were in power and had to answer questions on the Fortis deal and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) loan which they failed to do.

“We will not shoot it down as we want to do things differently and that is what the people of this country voted for," said.

He is hopefully the issue is settled if the Minority does not come up with any mischief after the presentation by the Finance Minister.

Story by Ghana | | Abubakar Ibrahim |[email protected]