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$2.25bn bond: Ofori-Atta clean – MP

Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, Sunyani East MP, has said the allegation by the NDC’s Cassiel Ato Forson that Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has conflicted himself in the issuance of the $2.25bn bond is unfounded.

Mr Forson has said it is strange for a bond to be issued and closed within a day, contrary to the normal practice of a minimum of three days.

According to him and the Minority in Parliament, Mr Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director at Franklyn Templeton, the institution that bought 95 per cent of the bond, is also a Director at Enterprise Group Limited, a company of which Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is co-founder, thus raising issues of transparency, conflict of interest, and suspicion.

In the views of Mr Forson and the Minority, Mr Ofori-Atta “cooked” the bond issuance for his “friend” and “relative”.

He said even though Franklyn Templeton has taken part in previous bond issued in Ghana, it had never bought such a significant amount of any single bond in the past.

“Franklyn Templeton never took 95 per cent in any single bond issuance; Franklyn Templeton never came to Ghana with a 2 billion investment in one single day.

That is the difference. There has never been in the history of Ghana that we’ve issued a book-building approach bond where Franklyn Templeton comes in in the morning, the book is opened in the morning and then in the evening it’s closed. It’s normally done in a minimum of three days.

Why was this cooked for his friend? Why was it cooked for a relative and someone that you have a business relationship with?” Mr Forson wondered in an interview with Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Wednesday, 19 April.

But speaking on this matter in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra 100.5FM on Wednesday April 19, Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh said Franklyn Templeton had done some work for Government of Ghana in the past, hence there was nothing wrong in his reengagement.

He said: “The claims are baseless. If they [the Minority] were looking for conflict of interest, then they should have questioned former President Mahama who awarded contracts to his brother.

“Mr Mahama awarded contracts to his brother Ibrahim [Mahama] in the road sector as well as several other government contracts that were awarded to him. But then the NDC Members [of] Parliament did not see any conflict of interest issue with it.

“With brothers they didn’t see any conflict interest, but with a distant friend they see a conflict of interest.”