The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has started investigating a battle of curiosity petition introduced before it by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
The investigative journalist who’s the founding father of Tiger Eye P.I is urging CHRAJ to look into allegations that the private firms of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and former Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Charles Adu Boahen, benefitted from loans and bonds entered into by Ghana.
Earlier, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta had been accused of using the services of a company he co-founded, Data Bank Financial Services – as advisors for a few of Ghana’s worldwide loan transactions.
While Black Star Brokerage, a company belonging to Charles Adu Boahen has additionally been accused of benefitting from transactions on government bond issuance.
Both firms have allegedly been appearing as monetary advisors and Bond Market Specialists to the Ministry of Finance.
Confirming the event to JoyNews, CHRAJ Commissioner, Joseph Whittal said the Commission has received an official criticism from the Tiger Eye PI staff and is assessing the supplies offered to it.
“The allegations are that there is conflict of interest in terms of their official duties as public officers and the companies in which they have interest in terms of government bonds and so the case is going through the standard process of assessment in order to make sure that it meets procedural requirement under the Commission’s regulation as well as whether it is really within the mandate of the Commission. Based on that, we will then decide what next steps to take,” Mr. Whittal said.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has additionally commenced investigations into the same corruption allegations levelled against Charles Adu Boahen in an exposé after President Akufo-Addo’s referral of the matter to the Office.
The Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo in 2018 accused Ken Ofori-Atta of battle of curiosity following the appointment of Databank Financial Services as transaction advisors to the Ministry and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) within the issuance of government bonds.
The MP in a letter titled: ‘Databank must be withdrawn as TA to Ministry of Finance,’ said trade watchers and well-meaning Ghanaians wanted to be “concerned” concerning the improvement, “especially given the things that unfolded at the Ministry of Finance with regard to public bond issuance since the assumption into office of Mr Ofori-Atta.
“It lends credence to growing disquiet in the financial sector that family and friends are having a better part of government-related businesses, not track record, competence and clout,” he said.
According to him, Barclays Bank, Ghana, Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana and Strategic African Securities (SAS) used to be the ebook runners for the BoG. However, he said Databank was changed with SAS given the connection between the Finance Minister and Databank.
“It is disgusting to note that Databank, which is the baby of the current Finance Minister, is now a book runner at the Bank of Ghana (BoG). It is instructive to note that the presence of Databank in the Transactions Advisor team puts the Minister of Finance in a potential conflict of interest situation,” he talked about.
Mr. Charles Adu Boahen whereas showing before the Parliament’s Appointment Committee in 2021, said he was not concerned within the operating of Black Star Brokerage, which he owns. Mr Adu-Boahen said he had resigned from the company in 2017 and had since not engaged in any of its activities.
“As I mentioned earlier, I resigned from the board and the management of Black Star Brokerage in 2017. I have no role and do not participate in its business dealings,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance dismissed such claims that Databank and Black Star Brokerage have been handpicked by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Ghana to act as Bond Market Specialists for government bond issuance, therefore benefiting from these transactions.
In a statement, the Ministry said, it’s incorrect the declare that these two corporations have been appointed as advisors to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
“The selection of the Primary Dealers [PDs] and Bond Market Specialists [BMSs] is an automatic process based on market performance and historical secondary market trading activity which is publicly available and cannot be manipulated by the Ministry of Finance [MoF] or the Bank of Ghana [BoG]”.
“Since 1996, the Ministry of Finance with the Bank of Ghana has developed and implemented various policies which affect the issuance and trading of Government of Ghana debt securities (Treasuries and Bonds). The ultimate objectives of these policies are to develop an efficient fixed income market, strengthen the capacity of local institutions and deepen financial intermediation”, it added.
Furthermore, it identified that Databank and Black Star Brokerage are two out of 9 corporations which have been selected by BoG/MoF as Bond Market Specialists and never Advisors to MoF.
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