The Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Brogya Genfi, has said he will file a joinder application should Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta drag the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to court over its findings on the issuance of the $2.25 billion bond.
“I am very interested in it and as an interested party, I am going to join anything that the Finance Minister will institute against CHRAJ because I sent the petition to CHRAJ,” Genfi said in a Citi News interview.
Genfi, in April 2017, petitioned CHRAJ to investigate the $2.25 billion bond issued by government, citing possible conflict of interest in the deal with regards to the Finance Minister and his alleged acquaintances, whom Genfi claimed had bought the bond at convenient rates.
CHRAJ, after months of investigations, said Ofori-Atta breached certain processes in the issuance of the bond but cleared him of all claims of conflict of interest.
The Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, at a press conference on Thursday hinted that the Finance Minister would head to court to challenge aspects of CHRAJ’s report that indicted him.
But speaking to Citi News, Brogya Genfi said the reasons given by the Finance Minister for the possible suit against CHRAJ were untenable.
“If you read the report, you will know that the Finance Minister was being investigated on Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution. CHRAJ only found out as part of its investigation that the Finance Minister did not disclose some of his assets. Now CHRAJ did not go further to do further investigation on that matter. They did not sanction the Minister; neither did they give a conclusion on that matter so what is the Finance Minister going to do in court?” he queried.
Article 284 of the Constitution states that “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.”
Brogya petitions CHRAJ again
According to Genfi he has petitioned CHRAJ again on the matter, this time urging it to delve deeper into the asset declaration aspect of the first report.
“In fact, I have presented a second petition to CHRAJ invoking article 287 which deals with article 286 of the Constitution bordering on assets disclosure. So I think they [Finance Minister and government spokespersons] are just making noise about it. They have stated that CHRAJ didn’t have the mandate to investigate all of that. If you go to the report and open to page 97, CHRAJ justified why they delved into those matters,” he argued.
$2.25billion bond controversies
The controversy over the bond began after the Minority called for a full-scale parliamentary probe into how persons they referred to as very close friends of the Finance Minister, purchased 95 percent of the $2.25 billion bond issue in April 2017.
The NDC’s Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer, Yaw Brongya Genfi, subsequently petitioned CHRAJ to investigate the bond on grounds that Mr. Ofori Atta attempted to promote his personal interests, as well as those of his family and friends.
On the substantive matter of conflict of interest, CHRAJ cleared Mr. Ofori-Atta of any wrongdoing, stating that, “on the basis of the evidence available to the Commission, it has come to the conclusion and therefore holds that, the allegations by the complainant that the respondent has contravened Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution by putting himself in a conflict of interest situation in relation to the issuance of the 5-year, 7-year, 10-year and 15-year bonds, have not been substantiated.”
CHRAJ, however, said that the Finance Minister, breached certain processes in the issuance of the bond.
In its 140-page report on the matter, CHRAJ made some suggestions to the Minister of Finance to ensure that due diligence is ensured in subsequent deals.
Among other directives, it said the Minister must pass regulations to monitor the format of and criteria for the auctions, and the procedures for participation, bidding, and allocation in auctions in relation to the issuance of securities in the domestic market.
CHRAJ further charged the Minister take measures in preventing Primary Dealers who are also bookrunners or transaction advisors from gaining the unfair advantage because of their dual roles.
It had found the Primary Dealers also doubled up as bookrunners or transaction advisors, and that dual role gave them an undue advantage.
Group sues Ofori-Atta, AG, CHRAJ over $2.25 bn bond
A group calling itself Dynamic Youth Organisation of Ghana, has also sued the Finance Minister, the Attorney General and the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice [CHRAJ] over the issuance of the bond.
The Convener for this new group, Edward Tutor, speaking on Eyewitness News last week explained that, the decision to clear Mr. Ofori Atta of any wrongdoing contravenes Article 284 of the constitution.
Mr. Tutor said their suit is to, therefore, invoke the Supreme Court to interpret Article 284 of the 1992 constitution.
Ofori-Atta to sue CHRAJ
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, may be dragging CHRAJ to court, over its handling of the petition in relation to the $2.25 billion bond issue.
He is heading to court to compel CHRAJ to overturn some of the declarations it considers irrelevant to the petition.
Addressing a news conference in Accra on Thursday, the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, said the Finance Minister believes CHRAJ went “beyond the matter of conflict of interest to make pronouncements on other matters that it was not seized with the capacity to make.”
This was announced after the Minority in Parliament had reiterated their calls on the Minister to resign or be forced out constitutionally based on the findings of the CHRAJ report.
By: Godwin A. Allotey & Zoe Abu-Baidu/citifmonline.com/Ghana