If you don’t know or understand, ASK – Lawyer Kow Essuman replies as lawyers take to Facebook to battle it out on controversial GoG- Agyapa/Asaase deal
Assistant Secretary and Lawyer at the Jubilee House, Kow Essuman has thrown a subtle jab at critics of the recent Minerals Income Investment Fund, between Government of Ghana and the Royalties Company. The controversial deal which was passed in parliament last week amid objections by the minority and some sections of the public aims to manage the equity interests of the country in mining companies, and receive mineral royalties and other related income due the country from mining operations to provide for the management and investment of the assets of the fund and for related matters. The latest to have raised eyebrows is Lawyer Ato Conduah who is questioning the propriety of the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance in entrusting such sovereign wealth into the hands of an off-shore company, who he claims apart from its unknown track record, exposes its related-parties who seem connected to the Ministry of Finance and GoG. In what appears to be a response to him on his Facebook page, Kow Essuman who is also member of the Minerals Income Investment Fund Board said Ghana deserves better than intellectual dishonesty.
Below is his Post
Ghana deserves better than intellectual dishonesty. You have people who actually hold a university degree speaking so ignorantly and failing to READ to be able to explain to citizens.
1. Parliament sets up Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) and gives it the power to set up an SPV to leverage our royalties from specified minerals.
2. MIIF set up the SPV as mandated by law, namely Asaase Royalties Limited (ARL) in Jersey for the purposes of listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) because Jersey has favourable tax laws. Other companies incorporated in Jersey include Tullow, Vodafone etc.
3. ARL is 100% owned by Ghana through MIIF and the two current directors are Ghanaians, who are members of the board of MIIF, sworn into office by the President on national television.
4. As part of the processes to list on LSE, ARL’s attention was drawn to potential confusion with companies with similar names, all in the minerals and mining industry. This required a change from Asaase to Agyapa Royalties Limited (still, ARL).
5. ARL will be publicly listed on LSE and Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE). LSE has the most stringent disclosure requirements for listing in the world for the purposes of transparency and accountability. GSE has similar disclosure requirements.
6. The listing is an initial PUBLIC offering (IPO) in London and Ghana, and anyone who desires to invest, can buy a share of the equity of ARL up to the percentage of equity offered.
7. IPO means a % of ARL’s shares will be sold and thus, ownership will change based on shares sold, funds raised and cash received in exchange for the shares in ARL sold. This will mean MIIF, and thus Ghana’s ownership will change in exchange for the cash received from investors buying ARL shares from the LSE and GSE.
8. Ghana, through MIIF, will still maintain a significant shareholding after the IPO.
9. This transaction structure allows Government to leverage a portion of our gold royalties rather than allowing it to just sit there and be spent.
10.There are many mining companies that list mining leases they have in Ghana as part of their assets to enable them list on stock exchanges in London, Australia and Canada, to raise money for their operations, usually elsewhere. ARL is listing a portion of our gold royalties as part of its assets to make it attractive for investment on the LSE, to raise money through equity investment (not debt) for Ghana.
11. Gold is trading at historically high levels and this is expected to continue amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s as simple as that. To describe the transaction as opaque or secret or words of a similar nature is most unfortunate. If you don’t know or understand, ASK. If you won’t ask, don’t expose your ignorance and misinform ordinary Ghanaians, who expect their leaders to think of innovative ways to raise funds for the development of the nation.