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January 17, 2021

Transparency Int’l asks UK to investigate Ghana gold royalties deal

Transparency Int’l asks UK to investigate Ghana gold royalties deal

Transparency International has asked the United Kingdom (UK) authorities to investigate a deal involving the Ghanaian government and Agyapa Royalties Limited, a Jersey-based company.

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Ghana is a major producer of gold in Africa, accounting for four per cent of government revenue in 2017.

In a deal which has been tagged “controversial”, Ghana proposed to sell about 76 per cent of its future receipts from gold royalties to Agyapa.

Ghana would own 51 per cent of the Agyapa royalties, while the remaining 49 per cent shares are to be sold through a listing on the London stock exchange.

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Martin Amidu, Ghanaian special prosecutor, had raised an alarm over the deal, citing issue of money laundering and corruption.

The prosecutor’s report shared in November led to increased review of the gold royalties deal.

In its submission to the UK financial conduct authority (FCA), Transparency International detailed concerns shared by a coalition of almost 30 Ghanaian and international civil society organisations that the deal is laced with corruption.

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The concerns were also shared with other UK financial institutions including J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, White and Case, an international and law firm.

Linda Ofori-Kwafo, executive director of Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Ghana chapter of Transparency International called on western financial institutions to investigate the deal in order to avoid plundering Ghana’s mineral resources.

“There are serious red flags in how this deal was set up. Concerns have been raised by civil society actors around inadequate stakeholder consultation, transparency and the valuation of the deal,” she said.

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“Other concerns bother on the way transaction advisors became involved in the process and a lack of public oversight over the company at the heart of the deal. It is crucial for Ghana that the western financial institutions and regulators involved in this deal take these concerns seriously.

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“They must not facilitate schemes that may end up plundering Ghana’s mineral resources in the name of investment.”

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