Stop personalizing US$2.25bn bond debate – Minority to MoF

The Minority in Parliament has slammed the Ministry of Finance for personalizing the debate over the controversial US$2.25 billion bond.

Government issued 15 and 7-year bonds with a coupon rate of 19.75%, raising a total amount of USD1.13 billion. The Finance Ministry additionally raised cedi equivalent of USD1.12 billion in five and 10-year bonds through a tap arrangement.

Former deputy finance Minister Casely Ato Forson at the press conference asserted Franklin Templeton Investment limited which acquired about 95% of the domestic bond floated earlier this month has a direct relationship with Mr. Ofori-Atta.

But the Finance Ministry hit back at claims by the minority indicating that the opposition party is deceiving Ghanaians.

However, in another statement, the minority urged the Ministry of Finance to address the issues concerning conflict of interest and stop personalizing the debate over the issuance of the bond.

“We are surprised that the Ministry of Finance, as an institution, is personalizing the debate on the major single largest bond issuance in the history of Ghana by attacking the former Deputy Finance Minister- Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson, who is now the ranking member of the Finance Committee of Parliament for expressing the concerns of the Minority Members of Parliament, and the largest Opposition Party in Ghana – the NDC.”

Below is the new statement by the minority

Re: ASPERSIONS ON THE US$2.25 BILLION OF DOMESTIC CEDI DENOMINATED BONDS ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF GHANA

The Minority in Parliament has taken note of a statement purportedly issued by the Ministry of Finance which seeks to undermine an earlier Minority statement on the US$2.25 billion BOND.

We are surprised that the Ministry of Finance, as an institution, is personalizing the debate on the major single largest bond issuance in the history of Ghana by attacking the former Deputy Finance Minister- Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson, who is now the ranking member of the Finance Committee of Parliament for expressing the concerns of the Minority Members of Parliament, and the largest Opposition Party in Ghana – the NDC.

SHROUDED IN SECRECY:

  1. Issuance calender:

We wish to state categorically that the 7-year and 15-year BOND was not on the issuance calender as claimed by the Ministry of Finance.

  1. Initial Pricing Guidelines:

The initial pricing guidelines of the BOND were issued around 5:37pm on the 30th March 2017 by e-mail at the time that domestic investors may have left their offices.

  1. Opening Date and time:

The transaction was opened at 9am on 31st March, 2017.

  1. Public Announcement:

The public announcement of the transaction was sent by e-mail at approximately 9:09am on the 31st March, 2017, contrary to the statement by the  Ministry of Finance that the announcement was made to the public on the 30th March, 2017. Clearly, the transaction was opened before the announcement was made to the public.

  1. Issuance Summary:

The issuance summary was issued on 31st March, 2017, at around 4:20pm by e-mail indicating that the BOND transaction had been closed and announcement made to the public, contrary to the statement by the Ministry of Finance that the BOND transaction was closed on 3rd April 2017.

Indeed, 3rd April, 2017, was only a SETTLEMENT DATE and NOT the CLOSING DATE of the BOND. It is for this reason that we believe that the BOND transaction was not competitive. The timing of the opening and closing announcement was too short for any competitive bidding.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST:

  1. It is strange that the Ministry of Finance, in its statement to the public, failed to deny the relational interest between the Finance Minister- Hon. Ken Ofori Atta and his good friend Trevor G. Trefgarne and his associate Franklin Templeton.
  2. We urge the Ministry of Finance to come again and explain to the public the processes leading to the issuance of the BOND and the conflict of interest situations arising out the transaction.

 

Signed:

Hon. Haruna Iddrisu (MP)

Minority Leader

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