Bond saga “much ado about nothing” – Godfred Dame

A Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice Godfred Yeboah Dame has described as “much ado about nothing” the controversy that gripped the recent issuance of a $2.5billion bond by the government.

The Ministry of Finance in April raised a total of $1.13 billion through the issuance of 15 and 17-year bonds at the same coupon of 19.75%.

In addition, the Ministry raised the cedi equivalent of USD1.12 billion in 5 and 10-year bonds via a tap-in arrangement.

These activities raised a total of USD2.25 billion and resulted in the lengthening of the maturity profile of the instruments available on the domestic market. This issuance represents the largest amount issued by a sub-Saharan African country in a day.

The pricing obtained was also consistent with the initial price range of 18.95% – 19.85%. The issuance attracted a number of global portfolio investors including a very substantial investment in the 15-year bond by a very well respected global financial investor.

But the Minority at a press conference Tuesday April 18, 2017 accused the Finance Minister of cooking the bond for his cronies citing the relationship between him and the majority buyer of the bond, Franklin Templeton.

But commenting on the controversy surrounding the issuance of the bond for the first time Wednesday on Starr Chat Mr. Dame stated unequivocally that the minority’s allegations are baseless.

“It is much ado about nothing,” he told Starr Chat host Bola Ray, stating that it was a very calculated attempt to distract the government from the success of the bond.

“A lot have been achieved within the last 100 and so days of the NPP [New Patriotic Party] government stay in office so far. And I think it is one of the ways of distracting from the achievements so far,” he added.

He averred that he does not see any conflict of interest whatsoever in the issuance of the bond and that it was so removed that it “boggles my mind.”

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in the heat of the bond controversy fired salvos at the Minority, describing them as “ignorant” following their stance over the issuance of a $2.25 billion 15-year domestic bond.

Speaking from Washington when he attended the World Bank/IMF spring meeting in April, he  told the media the Minority lacks “understanding in managing the economy.”

“It shows a lack of understanding. The minority has never understood this economy. It shows ignorance and I’m so sad this is coming from people who should know better,” said Dr. Bawumia.

“Maybe they should read a little,” he added.

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