Government to support flood victims in NER with houses – Veep

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Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said government will support displaced flood victims in the North East Region with durable houses that can withstand excessive rain and floods.

Recent floods in the Region has rendered many residents in the area homeless, a total of 938 persons were affected in four communities, Banawa, Kata, Gaagbini and Dimia.

A total of 80 households were destroyed, 58 houses collapsed, with a total of 384 rooms destroyed in the four communities.

Addressing the flood victims at Banawa, a community in the North East Region, Dr Bawumia said “By the grace of God, once the rains stop, we will support you with houses again, and we pray for the rains to stop and those houses will be structured in a better way to withstand future flooding.”

The Vice President as part of his visit, to some of the flood areas, also presented a cash donation of GHC 100,000.00 to assist purchase more relief and food items to supplement the mattresses, buckets, cartons of milk, bags of maize, rice and sugar among others that the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) had provided.

He said the flood situation in the area had compelled him to suspend his campaign, “I have rushed home to see for myself what has happened,” and noted that the flood waters had caused the collapse of many buildings.

“Unfortunately, many of these buildings were built with mud and so the force of the water has resulted in the collapse of many of them. We have estimated about 80 houses but they are more,” the Vice President said.

He commended NADMO for acting swiftly to assist the victims in the Region.

Dr Bawumia was in the company of Mr Solomon Namlit Boar, the North East Regional Minister, Mr Tahiru Ahmed Tia, the Deputy Regional Minister, Hajia Lariba Abudu, the New Patriotic Party’s Parliamentary Aspirant for Walewale Constituency and Mr Arimeyaw Lucky Somo Basintale, the Municipal Chief Executive for the West Manprusi Municipality.

Source: GNA

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Rawlings threatens to protest in Parliament if rising sea erosion is not addressed

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Former President Jerry John Rawlings has vowed to stage a protest if parliament fails to address the rising sea erosion in the coastal areas of Ghana.

The former president says the phenomenon is destroying many properties.

According to Rawlings, the rate at which people who live along the coast are losing their lands, properties, and life to the sea is very alarming.

Speaking to the press when a Parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye visited him at his residence, the former president explained that the situation requires critical attention.

“It’s happening bit by bit. I am sharing this with you, because when it happens to you that is when you will appreciate how crucial it is to have soil under your feet,” Rawlings said.

The former president unapologetically revealed that he would embark on a solo protest at parliament with the inscription “give us some more groins” should the situation continue to persist without been addressed.

However, Rawlings also revealed that he would engage President Akufo-Addo to consider extending the sea defense to ensure that people living along the coast do not lose their lands to the sea.

Rawlings said, “Mr Speaker you should pay a visit to the communities and see for yourself. We need to extend the ground beyond what they are now.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye and his delegation visited the former president to commiserate with him following the death of his mother.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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Preventing media from covering Ken Agyapong contempt case ‘worrying’ – TPF

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Source: Class FM

The Press Foundation (TPF) says denying journalists access to the Accra High Court to cover the contempt case involving Member of Parliament for Assin Central Kennedy Agyapong is an “unfortunate attempt geared at preventing the media from their professional responsibility to the nation.”

This comes on the heel of reports that some Judicial Press Corps who were present at the Land division of the High Court in Accra on Friday, 25 September 2020 were not allowed entry into the courtroom.

TPF in a statement signed by its Executive Director Listowel Yesu Bukarson on Friday, 25 September 2020, noted that: “It is more so very worrying since the reason for denial is said to be instructions from above”.

TPF, therefore, called “the attention of authorities concerned to the decision, akin to gagging the media which ultimately is a further stab in the backs of freedom of the media.”

According to Police personnel present at the High Court, they were only acting based on “instructions from above.”

Following an exchange with the police, the press corps were asked to send a representative inside to cover proceedings on behalf of all other media houses that were present.

It is unclear which “above” the instructions are coming from and to what end.

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14,000 out of 21,000 missing voters ‘suddenly’ reappeared after my alarm – Ashaiman MP

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Ashaiman MP Ernest Henry Norgbey has said the Electoral Commission is claiming to have restored 14,000 of some 21,000 missing names that allegedly vanished from the voter roll in his constituency.

He told journalists on Saturday, 19 September 2020 that: “As of yesterday, when the book was opened, about 21,000 names, including mine, could not be found in the new voter register in the Ashaiman Constituency.

“Isn’t that strange?” he wondered.

“One needs not be told that this is an agenda by the Electoral Commission to disenfranchise a lot of people, especially those within areas perceived as strongholds of the NDC”, he alleged.

According to him, “We registered 167,254 as of the close of registration but yesterday [Friday, 18 September 2020], per our checks on the register, it was 146,310”.

“This means”, he noted, “that if the anomaly is not rectified, people’s whose names could not be found on the register will not be able to vote in the upcoming elections and only God knows what will befall us should this evil be allowed to triumph”.

The opposition lawmaker, however, announced that after meeting the EC on the matter, two-thirds of the missing names have reappeared.

“Let me quickly say that upon realising the anomaly and having raised the alarm, the Electoral Commission, after a meeting with them this morning, claimed to have, all of a sudden, restored the names of about 14,000 people back into the register”, he said.

“This, we are yet to confirm”, he pointed out.

He said: “The Electoral Commission is saying that they have brought in a new register and that on this new register, we have about 160,000, which means that they have restored 14,000 people and we are yet to confirm to know whether it is true”.

“They actually challenge my figure when I raised the concerns but in less than 24 hours, they have managed to restore about 14,000 names, including mine.

“Where did they get the names of the 14,000 people?” he asked.

“We are still short of about 7,000 people that should be restored. We seek the EC to restore the difference of 7,000 names that is still missing from the register, or else face the wrath of the people of Ashaiman”, he warned.

The EC’s Public Affairs Director, Mrs Sylvia Annor, earlier disputed the claims of the MP, insisting his name was on the register and that no 21,000 names had disappeared.

Cape Coast citizens demand tax accountability from assembly

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Tax payers in the Cape Coast Metro have expressed their dissatisfaction about their tax revenue utilization in the metropolis. They are demanding accountability from the assembly. The citizens want Cape Coast Metro assembly to show them development projects they have used their levies and fees for that inure to the benefit of tax payers.  There was heated debate between Cape Coast Metro budget analyst Simon Gador and participants at Tax Justice Coalition Ghana’s 2020 public forum held at Cape Coast to educate citizens on the need to honour tax obligation and judicious use of tax revenue to benefit the masses. The budget analyst was put to strict prove to list some of the project the assembly has used their levies to construct in the metropolis. Participants expressed their appreciation to Tax Justice Coalition Ghana for the training program. According to them, they have been enlightened about their tax obligations. They are now in better position to demand accountability from their assemblies.

 

The Cape Coast Metro budget analyst Simon Gador is urging citizens in the Cape Coast Metropolis and the entire country to demand accountability from their various assemblies of what their taxes are being used for as the law permit. He said his office had nothing to hide hence he is urging opinion leaders in the various communities to sermon assembly officers to come and account to the community.  According to him, since most assemblies are failing to organize social accountability forum to engage the public on how their levies and fees are utilized,  chiefs and other opinion leaders should organize and sermon assembly officials to come and account to them. This is one surest way to encourage tax compliance since community members know what their levies are utilized.

Dorcas Lomotey, treasurer at Tax Justice Coalition Ghana at the Southern Zone has identified lack of judicious use of tax revenue as one of the issues that demotivate tax compliance on the part of citizens. She also touched on lack of monitoring and lack of value for money for several projects. Tax Justice Coalition Ghana is urging citizens to have a stake in various projects within their assemblies to ensure judicious use of tax revenue to maximize development in the Central Region. The coalition has resolved to partner various assemblies to educate the public about the need to honour their tax obligations. Dorcas Lomotey assured citizens that Tax Justice Coalition Ghana will go step further to ensure their grievances are address by those in authority. The coalition will document grievances raised by citizens especially issues relating judicious use of tax revenue in their communities.

Fact Checker: Okoe-Boye’s claim that Togo charges €150 for coronavirus test at airport ‘outright lie’

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Source: Starr FM

CLAIM: Ghana’s Deputy Health Minister Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye claims passengers who arrive in Togo pay 150 euros for the PCR COVID-19 test. He also claims that in Zimbabwe persons pay about 210 dollars for the COVID-19 test.

VERDICT: OUTRIGHT LIE

FULL TEXT:

On Sunday, President Akufo Addo addressed the nation on measures taken to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In his address the President announced the re-opening of Ghana’s air borders on September 1 and outlined a number of measures. Among the measures, passengers who enter the country are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test and are mandated to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Kotoka International Airport. The next day, government convened a press briefing to provide further information about the arrangements.

At that press briefing, deputy health minister Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye justified the 150 dollar cost for the COVID-19 test to be done at the airport by making comparisons with what pertains in other countries. He mentioned a number of countries including Togo and Zimbabwe.

Specifically, the deputy minister said the cost of the PCR test in Togo is 150 euros while in Zimbabwe persons pay 210 dollars for the test

Dr. Oko Boye said: “when you go to a place like Zimbabwe, you will about 210 dollars for the test. Now when you go Togo here, you will pay about 150 euros not dollars”

VERIFICATION:

Starrfmfactchecker limited the verification of this claim to the specific countries mentioned by the deputy health minister. Before anything, it is important to provide some explanation about COVID-19 testing.

Type of COVID-19 tests around the world:

Tests for COVID-19 are categorized in three types namely PCR test, antigen test and antibody (serology) test. PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction and is a test that looks for bits of the SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus that causes the COVID-19 in the nose and other areas of the respiratory tract. It determines if a person has an active infection.

Antigen test looks for pieces of the protein that constitutes the SARS-CoV-2 virus to determine if a person has an active infection. An antibody test is a serological test that looks for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the blood to determine if there has been a past infection. Although both PCR and Antigen tests determine if there’s an active infection of the COVID-19, PCR is more expensive and takes more time than the antigen test. Source: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/docs/COVID19-PCRvsSerologyTesting.pdf

Again PCR tests are typically highly accurate and usually do not need to be repeated. For Antigen tests, positive results are usually highly accurate but negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/coronavirus-testing-basics

A number of countries are conducting COVID-19 testing at airports; Iceland, France, Germany, Russia, China among others. https://www.nsmedicaldevices.com/analysis/covid-19-testing-airports/

Ghana’s testing regime:

Travelers arriving into Ghana since the resumption of passenger flights on September 1 are required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken not more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure from countries. On arrival, all passengers will undergo a mandatory COVID-19 testing. This test according to deputy health minister Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye should not last more than 30 minutes and will come at a cost of 150 dollars to be borne by the passenger.

The type of testing being done at the Kotoka International Airport is the antigen test. Government officials say the amount of 150 dollars was reached upon a careful analysis of what happens elsewhere in other countries. In defending the price, the deputy health minister mentioned Zimbabwe, China, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Starrfmfactchecker sought to verify the costs for tests in these countries as mentioned by the Deputy Health Minister.

WHAT HAPPENS IN TOGO?

Number of COVID-19 cases: Togo confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 on March 6 2020. As at September 2, 2020 the Africa Center for Disease Control reported that the country had one thousand four hundred and sixteen total confirmed cases, twenty-eight deaths and one thousand and thirty-five recoveries. (https://africacdc.org/covid-19/)

Status of International Travel: The government of Togo announced the closure of all borders with immediate effect on Friday March 20, 2020. All non-essential inbound and outbound traffic and travel was prohibited per that order with only cargo allowed into the country. https://www.garda.com/crisis24/news-alerts/326281/togo-authorities-shut-borders-put-four-cities-on-lockdown-march-20-update-2 , https://www.ippf.org/blogs/covid-19-impact-what-we-know-so-far-togo

International and domestic flights resumed in Togo on August 1, 2020 with the announcement of COVID-19 protocols.

First, all travelers both departing and arriving are mandated to register and fill an online traveler declaration form on the government’s website www.voyage.gouv.tg. Any traveler departing from Lomé must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure. A laboratory dedicated to screening passengers departing from Lomé is set up in the enclosure of the old terminal of Gnassingbé Eyadema International Airport (AIGE) for COVID-19 screening tests.

Again any passenger entering Lome has to present a negative PCR test dating less than 5 days before boarding. Upon arrival, the passenger is subjected to another PCR test. Source: https://voyage.gouv.tg/. For this purpose, he must complete the online form available on www.voyage.gouv.tg and pay the cost of said test before their departure. The on-site PCR test that passengers undergo at the airport upon arrival is CFA 40,000 which is equivalent to 72 US dollars and approximately £55. Source: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/togo/entry-requirements,

https://travelbans.org/africa/togo/

All travelers must install TOGO SAFE. It is a contact tracing application which must be installed upon arrival at the Lomé Airport. It is mandatory for the app to remain activated for at least 30 days. Passengers who do not install the app are quarantined in a containment facility provided by the government for at least 14 days. The cost of the quarantine is borne by the traveler. https://www.balglobal.com/bal-news/togo-covid-19-flights-resume-travel-requirements-announced/ Test results arrive within 24 hours. Those with positive test results will be required to self-isolate either at home or at a government facility until they test negative. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/togo/entry-requirements

From the foregoing facts, the Starrfmfactchecker finds the claim made by Deputy Health Minister that passengers pay 150 euros for the test false. The cost of the on-site PCR test done at the Lomé Airport is less than 100 euros.

WHAT HAPPENS IN ZIMBABWE

Number of COVID-19 cases: Zimbabwe reported its first case of the novel coronavirus on 21st March 2020. It now has a cumulative case count of six thousand, five hundred and fifty-nine cases, deaths stand at two hundred and three while two hundred and forty-one persons have recovered from the COVID-19 ( https://africacdc.org/covid-19/)

Status of International Travel: On Monday March 24, 2020 Zimbawe’s President Emerson Mnangagwa announced the closure of the country’s borders to all human traffic except for returning residents and cargo. He announced then that returning residents will be subjected to strict screening procedures including a 21 day self-quarantine. Source: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183572.shtml

At the moment, Zimbabwe is closed for passenger flights. Only Zimbabwean nationals are allowed into the country. Zimbabwe’s Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says “the plan is to start with the resumption of domestic flights and then move to international flights” adding that “Government is finalizing on modalities for the reopening of airports to support the resumption of the tourism sector” http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-09/02/c_139336251.htm

Since Zimbabwe’s air borders are still not opened for international flights, protocols only relate to returning citizens. Starrfmfactchecker checked with Zimbabwe’s Health Ministry about COVID-19 arrangements for returning citizens. An official from the Epidemiology and Disease Control(EDC) department told Starr Fm’s correspondent in Zimbabwe that citizens who arrive are to be tested. The official however added that government facilities do not have the capacity to test at the moment so persons are referred to private centers to do the test.

The cost of the test is therefore dependent on the institution where the test is done. The Health Ministry says it is not aware that persons are charged 210 US dollars to take the COVID-19 test at these private centers although in the past some persons have taken the test at a cost of 65 US dollars.

The EDC official says travellers can either be quarantined at government institutions or private institutions. Starrfmfactchecker did an online search about private institutions offering COVID-19 packages, below is the one from the Bronte, The Garden Hotel, Harare, Zimbabwe

From the above, it is not true that passengers are made to pay 210 dollars to take the COVID-19 test in Zimbabwe as is being claimed by the Deputy Health Minister. Zimbabwe’s government has not yet made a decision about when to allow international flights. The only persons allowed to enter Zimbabwe currently are citizens who are referred to private facilities to take the test when they enter the country at a cost that is not determined by government but by the private facilities.

Again Starrfmfactchecker finds the comparisons made by Dr. Bernard Oko Boye to be misleading especially in the case of Togo where the on-site COVID-19 test done is the Gold standard PCR test known to be more expensive than the antigen test being done at the Kotoka International Airport.

Starrfmfactchecker therefore rates Dr. Bernard Oko Boye’s claim that Passengers who arrive in Togo pay 150 euros for the PCR test and those in Zimbabwe pay 210 dollars as an outright lie. And is given two stars.

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Government to distribute vehicles to chiefs

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Source: thepublisheronline.com

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is set to distribute brand new Toyota Land Cruisers and Pickup vehicles to each of the newly created regional house of chiefs.

The Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Kofi Dzamesi, made the announcement, whilst addressing the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi on Friday.

“President Nana Akufo-Addo will be touring the newly created regions in a few days’ time and whilst there, he would present vehicles to their regional house of chiefs.

“Each of the newly created regional house of chiefs will receive one Land Cruiser and one Pickup vehicle to enhance their movement and other activities”, Kofi Dzamesi disclosed.

Kofi Dzamesi, who was addressing the National House of Chiefs during their sitting in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, on Friday, said the President would also engage in other activities.

He said the President would also cut the sod for construction works on offices, conference halls and apartments to start in the regions.

Kofi Dzamesi said government is aware of the relevance and influence of traditional leaders in the transformational processes of the country so it would support them always.

On behalf of government, the Minister lauded traditional leaders for their significant contributions and support to government in the fight against the dangerous COVID-19.

He added, the President has displayed perfect leadership in the face of the deadly virus, reiterating that the chiefs have also played their part in the management of the virus.

The cheiftency minister entreated traditional leaders to continue to partner government to help accelerate national development so that the citizenry would feel comfortable.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Michael Kwadwo Peprah, the president of the Concerned Small Scale Miners Association, who was arrested by the Cyber Crime Unit of the Ghana Police Service, has been granted bail.

This was after some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) gathered at the Nima Police Station in Accra where Peprah was being held, to demand his release.

On Saturday, August 29, Michael Kwadwo Peprah, was arrested in Kumasi for allegedly causing fear and panic with a post on his Facebook timeline. He was then transported to Accra.

According to Peprah’s lawyer, Bobby Benson, “Mr. Michael Kojo Preprah has been granted bail. The Policeman who effected the arrest from Kumasi later came to the Nima Police Station and he [Preprah] was asked to write his statement and before that, they must tell you the offence they are investigating. They said they are investigating the offence of publishing false information, and the complainant, we are told, is the Minister for Environment.”

“So he has been granted bail and we are to report tomorrow to continue,” he added.

Sammy Gyamfi, the NDC’s National Communication Officer, described Michael Kwadwo Peprah’s arrest as an intimidation by the Akufo-Addo administration.

“This morning we got information that the president of the Concerned Small Scale Miners Association of Ghana has been arrested by officers belonging to the Cybercrime Unit of the Ghana Police Service in the Ashanti Region. We understand that he was detained at the Ashanti Regional Office and this morning transported to the Nima Police Station. We’ve spoken to him and he tells us that he was arrested yesterday at 3 pm in Kumasi and was not told the reason for his arrest. His phones were seized and [he was] taken to his house and a search was conducted,” Sammy Gyamfi told Citi FM in an interview.

He continued: “We have gathered information that he was arrested over a post he made on his Facebook wall ahead of the Association’s planned press conference to compare the NPP’s manifesto and that of the NDC on the issue of small scale mining. Our sources at the Cyber Crime Unit tell us this arrest was on the orders of the Minister of Environment, Prof Frimpong Boateng who is not happy at how the association of small scale miners led by Mr. Preprah has exposed the criminal galamsey he has been supervising and we see this as clear intimidation by the Akufo-Addo administration.”

Peprah in a video available to GhanaWeb was seen interacting and posing for a group photograph with the NDC members after his release.

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Permanently kick Allotey Jacobs out of NDC – Stephen Atubiga demands

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Source: My News GH

A member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Communication Team, Stephen Atubigais calling on the leadership of his party to permanently sack Bernard Allotey Jacobs from the party as a matter of urgency.

Atubiga’s call for the dismissal of the beleaguered former Central Regional Chairman of the NDC comes following Allotey’s endorsement of the Presidential candidate for the ruling NPP Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Allotey Jacobs on record to have also said there is no way John Dramani Mahama is going to win the 2020 elections whiles he rallies behind Nana Addo.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has already suspended Bernard Allotey Jacobs from the party for “persistent anti-party conduct”.

In a letter signed by the National Chairman of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the NDC said: “The Functional Executive Committee (FEC) of the National Democratic Congress, acting on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, at its meeting held on Wednesday, the 6th day of May, 2020, has suspended you forthwith as a member of the party, according to articles 46(1), 46(6) and 46(8) of the party’s constitution for your persistent anti-party conduct”.

It added that the matter had been referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the NDC for further action.

But Stephen Atubiga speaking on Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV monitored by MyNewsGH.com insisted that, Mr. Bernard Allotey Jacobs must be sacked from the party for his conduct because it doesn’t show “good leadership”.

“I have a problem that my party too hasn’t issued a statement in sacking Allotey and these are some of the things I have problems with. If the man says I’m dying, dig the grave for him to die,” he lamented.

Atubiga chided, adding that the 2020 elections is a serious business, hence if anybody thinks he is not ready to join the struggle he must be pulled out.

According to him, Allotey Jacobs is one of the men who worked very hard for the party and does not expect him to behave the way he is doing.

“I know the role Allotey played in bring John Dramani Mahama into power but the mere fact that you have a problem with a party member does not mean it must apply to the party as a whole because that is not leadership”. Atubiga said.

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`IMANI Africa turns up heat on Agyapa deal with 10 new questions, comments

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, has intensified its scrutiny of the Agyapa Royalties deal following a series of government justifications to concerns raised about the agreement.

On Saturday, August 29, 2020, a Deputy Finance Minister, Charles Adu-Boahen, suggested that some of the critics of the deal, including IMANI Africa’s Bright Simons, may not have the requisite expertise in investment banking to do so.

However, in a ten-point response to that suggestion by the government official and other issues that have been raised, Founding President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, said the proponents of the deal have also not done so based on investment banking principles or expertise.

“…what is all this talk about ‘investment banking’ this and that? How many of the people supporting the deal blindly have evaluated it using “investment banking” experience? And if people think they are investment banking titans, why don’t they just build their own businesses and go and list them on the London Stock Exchange?” he wrote in a release.

He said even if listing on the London Stock Exchange is so necessary to make sure Ghana gets the most money despite all the high costs Ghana does not have to lose so much control as demanded in the Relationship Agreement in Agyapa deal.

“On top of the massive expenses that shall see brokers, lawyers, auditors, accountants, and assorted ‘investment bankers’, and their agents and friends, consuming nearly 10% of the money to be raised, the question can still be asked as to why we are choosing a ‘standard listing’ without more, and on that basis requiring that Government of Ghana virtually lose all control of how the royalties money shall be spent in coming years,” the IMANI Africa boss stated.

Government has been criticised for the details of the deal that seeks to leverage Ghana’s mineral resources for primary capital on the international market.

At least 15 CSOs say the Agyapa deal fails the test of transparency.

Read the 10 new comments and questions Mr Cudjoe has presented about the deal below.

Agyapa matters arising series

If you think that the CSO front is going to leave this Agyapa business to just a few people and IMANI, then brace yourself. This week, a whole lot of new voices are going to be heard, serious voices. Tons of expertise and experience are going to be unleashed at this Agyapa business. Some of us are even going to take a backseat.

And what is all this talk about “investment banking” this and that? How many of the people supporting the deal blindly have evaluated it using “investment banking” experience? And if people think they are investment banking titans, why don’t they just build their own businesses and go and list them on the London Stock Exchange?

As long as what we are talking about is natural resources belonging to all of us and their governance, POLICY ANALYSIS and ADVOCACY shall be done, period! Below, I list a few issues that have come up since we published our earlier report (take your time and read it here: https://imaniafrica.org/2020/08/29/why-the-csos-oppose-the-current-agyapa-deal/).

1. Even if listing on the London Stock Exchange is so necessary to make sure we raise the most money (and IMANI disagrees that the stock market offers the best upfront fundraising option) despite all the crazy costs (see this article for some interesting insights: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/08/22/the-ipo-is-being-reinvented) does Ghana have to necessarily lose as much control as demanded in the Relationship Agreement? On top of the massive expenses that shall see brokers, lawyers, auditors, accountants, and assorted “investment bankers”, and their agents and friends, consuming nearly 10% of the money to be raised, the question can still be asked as to why we are choosing a “standard listing” without more, and on that basis requiring that Government of Ghana virtually lose all control of how the royalties money shall be spent in coming years.

2. It is precisely to address the concerns and sensitivities when it comes to state-owned assets (like the future royalty income of a nation state) that the London Stock Exchange introduced the Sovereign Controlled Commercial Company option so that state-owned entities and joint ventures can be listed without their nation state-owners losing all control over decision-making.

3. The Deputy Finance Minister has repeatedly insisted that in no country have Parliamentarians been given access to the transactional details of a planned listing of state-owned assets. Hence, the government cannot disclose the offer price, bookrunning details, broker fees and other essential information to the people’s representatives. This is a strange stance. The world abounds in SPVs set up by sovereign wealth funds (which our Mineral Income Investment Fund is). In every country where there is a functional parliament, oversight over such listings is to be assumed. Temasek Holdings is the most famous Singaporean Sovereign Wealth Fund. Its Astrea series of SPVs have always been scrutinised by the relevant parliamentary committees ahead of listing on the SGX. In fact, the tradition has been to circulate prospectuses widely (cf: https://www.astrea.com.sg/file/a5/resources/astrea-v-pte-ltd-final-prospectus-dated-11-june-2019.pdf). Why do Government officials here like to pretend that they are doing something so complex and groundbreaking that mere mortals cannot comprehend or critique?

4. The Deputy Finance Minister also said that tying up Ghana’s gold royalties in this Agyapa vehicle will not affect any other commitments because the 20% due to the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) will keep flowing. Why then has Government repeatedly failed to pay the full allocation to the MDF? In recent years, less than 10% of royalties, instead of the statutorily required 20%, have been paid. Yet, this is the portion of our under-pressure resources that ordinary people and communities suffering the adverse effects of mining directly benefit from. If even with all our royalties intact we are struggling to pay 10% into the MDF, then what will happen when all the royalties are tied up?

5. What happened to the Attorney General’s claims that allocation of royalty income in USD will breach the Bank of Ghana Act? Why was that not changed in the final agreement? Why did the Attorney General back down then?

6. Why does the Deputy Finance Minister (DFM), whose many years of touted “investment banking” experience has been hoisted as the flagmast of this deal, continue to sound as if he is completely unaware of any experience of royalty streaming in Africa? He makes it sound as if this run-of-the-mill deal method is some kind of unique local invention. Has he heard of the Karma Mine deal in Burkina Faso involving Sandstorm Gold and Franco-Nevada? Does he know that $100 million was paid upfront for 100,000 ounces of gold to be delivered over 5 years? When he looks at these numbers, does he understand why one does not need an “investment banking certificate” from JP Morgan to know that collecting $500 million for roughly 50% of nearly 5% of nearly 5 million ounces of gold PER YEAR for an INDEFINITE PERIOD of time is a steal for investors? That it demonstrates how we are undervaluing our assets by AT LEAST 50%? Did he examine the Shanta-Silverback deal in Tanzania?

7. How can the DFM say that it is more value-creating to discount future income through a general stock exchange than to cut a deal with a specialised discounter? Why exactly would pension funds pay more for Ghana’s future royalties through the London Stock Exchange than a royalties company as he claims? If it is about the glory and prestige of owning “Africa’s first gold royalties company listed on the London Stock Exchange”, why must the country sacrifice all its future royalties earnings? Why not a portion?

8. If, as the DFM insists, it is always a rip-off to do a direct securitisation deal to frontload earnings from mineral royalties, then why would any African country want to do business with Agyapa? The Government has said several times that they want Agyapa to become a major “African royalties company”. Why would African countries want to do royalties deals with Agyapa instead of listing an SPV too? If indeed, direct royalties deals are a ripoff?

9. How was Cabinet able to approve a deal in March 2020 when as late as May 28th, 2020, the Attorney General was complaining of not having seen the four main agreements involved in the transaction besides the Relationship Agreement? What exactly was presented to Cabinet to review and approve?

10. The DFM says that a direct royalties streaming deal was referred to the Finance Ministry by the Vice President but a review indicated that Ghana’s royalties would be valued at $700 million. What was the name of the company that made the offer? Who did the valuation? Was a report produced? Was this report shared with Cabinet? Did Cabinet or any committee of Cabinet review additional offers from royalty-streaming companies to benchmark this approach of creating and listing a securitisation vehicle as a way of raising money? As IMANI indicated in its earlier report, the vast majority of royalty streaming transactions we have seen value royalties for an ounce of gold at ~ 2.5X what the Ministry is projecting to raise. Once again, what offer price has been set for Agyapa’s shares ahead of listing? What is the commitment level of the underwriter?

Agyapa matters arising series

Franklin’s 10 simple comments & questions about Agyapa

If you think that the CSO front is going to leave this Agyapa business to just a few people and IMANI, then brace yourself. This week, a whole lot of new voices are going to be heard, serious voices. Tons of expertise and experience are going to be unleashed at this Agyapa business. Some of us are even going to take a backseat.

And what is all this talk about “investment banking” this and that? How many of the people supporting the deal blindly have evaluated it using “investment banking” experience? And if people think they are investment banking titans, why don’t they just build their own businesses and go and list them on the London Stock Exchange?

As long as what we are talking about is natural resources belonging to all of us and their governance, POLICY ANALYSIS and ADVOCACY shall be done, period! Below, I list a few issues that have come up since we published our earlier report (take your time and read it here: https://imaniafrica.org/2020/08/29/why-the-csos-oppose-the-current-agyapa-deal/).

1. Even if listing on the London Stock Exchange is so necessary to make sure we raise the most money (and IMANI disagrees that the stock market offers the best upfront fundraising option) despite all the crazy costs (see this article for some interesting insights: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/08/22/the-ipo-is-being-reinvented) does Ghana have to necessarily lose as much control as demanded in the Relationship Agreement? On top of the massive expenses that shall see brokers, lawyers, auditors, accountants, and assorted “investment bankers”, and their agents and friends, consuming nearly 10% of the money to be raised, the question can still be asked as to why we are choosing a “standard listing” without more, and on that basis requiring that Government of Ghana virtually lose all control of how the royalties money shall be spent in coming years.

2. It is precisely to address the concerns and sensitivities when it comes to state-owned assets (like the future royalty income of a nation state) that the London Stock Exchange introduced the Sovereign Controlled Commercial Company option so that state-owned entities and joint ventures can be listed without their nation state-owners losing all control over decision-making.

3. The Deputy Finance Minister has repeatedly insisted that in no country have Parliamentarians been given access to the transactional details of a planned listing of state-owned assets. Hence, the government cannot disclose the offer price, bookrunning details, broker fees and other essential information to the people’s representatives. This is a strange stance. The world abounds in SPVs set up by sovereign wealth funds (which our Mineral Income Investment Fund is). In every country where there is a functional parliament, oversight over such listings is to be assumed. Temasek Holdings is the most famous Singaporean Sovereign Wealth Fund. Its Astrea series of SPVs have always been scrutinised by the relevant parliamentary committees ahead of listing on the SGX. In fact, the tradition has been to circulate prospectuses widely (cf: https://www.astrea.com.sg/file/a5/resources/astrea-v-pte-ltd-final-prospectus-dated-11-june-2019.pdf). Why do Government officials here like to pretend that they are doing something so complex and groundbreaking that mere mortals cannot comprehend or critique?

4. The Deputy Finance Minister also said that tying up Ghana’s gold royalties in this Agyapa vehicle will not affect any other commitments because the 20% due to the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) will keep flowing. Why then has Government repeatedly failed to pay the full allocation to the MDF? In recent years, less than 10% of royalties, instead of the statutorily required 20%, have been paid. Yet, this is the portion of our under-pressure resources that ordinary people and communities suffering the adverse effects of mining directly benefit from. If even with all our royalties intact we are struggling to pay 10% into the MDF, then what will happen when all the royalties are tied up?

5. What happened to the Attorney General’s claims that allocation of royalty income in USD will breach the Bank of Ghana Act? Why was that not changed in the final agreement? Why did the Attorney General back down then?

6. Why does the Deputy Finance Minister (DFM), whose many years of touted “investment banking” experience has been hoisted as the flagmast of this deal, continue to sound as if he is completely unaware of any experience of royalty streaming in Africa? He makes it sound as if this run-of-the-mill deal method is some kind of unique local invention. Has he heard of the Karma Mine deal in Burkina Faso involving Sandstorm Gold and Franco-Nevada? Does he know that $100 million was paid upfront for 100,000 ounces of gold to be delivered over 5 years? When he looks at these numbers, does he understand why one does not need an “investment banking certificate” from JP Morgan to know that collecting $500 million for roughly 50% of nearly 5% of nearly 5 million ounces of gold PER YEAR for an INDEFINITE PERIOD of time is a steal for investors? That it demonstrates how we are undervaluing our assets by AT LEAST 50%? Did he examine the Shanta-Silverback deal in Tanzania?

7. How can the DFM say that it is more value-creating to discount future income through a general stock exchange than to cut a deal with a specialised discounter? Why exactly would pension funds pay more for Ghana’s future royalties through the London Stock Exchange than a royalties company as he claims? If it is about the glory and prestige of owning “Africa’s first gold royalties company listed on the London Stock Exchange”, why must the country sacrifice all its future royalties earnings? Why not a portion?

8. If, as the DFM insists, it is always a rip-off to do a direct securitisation deal to frontload earnings from mineral royalties, then why would any African country want to do business with Agyapa? The Government has said several times that they want Agyapa to become a major “African royalties company”. Why would African countries want to do royalties deals with Agyapa instead of listing an SPV too? If indeed, direct royalties deals are a ripoff?

9. How was Cabinet able to approve a deal in March 2020 when as late as May 28th, 2020, the Attorney General was complaining of not having seen the four main agreements involved in the transaction besides the Relationship Agreement? What exactly was presented to Cabinet to review and approve?

10. The DFM says that a direct royalties streaming deal was referred to the Finance Ministry by the Vice President but a review indicated that Ghana’s royalties would be valued at $700 million. What was the name of the company that made the offer? Who did the valuation? Was a report produced? Was this report shared with Cabinet? Did Cabinet or any committee of Cabinet review additional offers from royalty-streaming companies to benchmark this approach of creating and listing a securitisation vehicle as a way of raising money? As IMANI indicated in its earlier report, the vast majority of royalty streaming transactions we have seen value royalties for an ounce of gold at ~ 2.5X what the Ministry is projecting to raise. Once again, what offer price has been set for Agyapa’s shares ahead of listing? What is the commitment level of the underwriter?

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