Bond saga: Minority’s multiple petitions dangerous – IFS

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has expressed worry over the Minority’s insistence that there was insider-trading and conflict of interest in the issuance of the $2.25 billion bond by government in April.

The IFS is warning the Minority’s multiplicity of petitions to foreign Securities and Exchange Commissions over the bond could spell doom for the country’s economy.

The Minority Wednesday petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission in Luxembourg in its ongoing crusade for disclosure on the saga since April by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.

This comes after a similar petition was sent to the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission to probe what the NDC lawmakers suspect to be riddled with underhand dealings, enabling Franklin Templeton Investments to buy a chunk of the bond.

In this new petition, the Minority wants Authorities to investigate the Luxembourg-based subsidiary of Franklin Templeton which bought the bond on behalf of its Parent Company.

Reacting to the development, the Executive Director of IFS, Prof. Newman Kusi cautioned that “the Minority should be very careful in what they are doing,” arguing that if a case of conflict of interest in the issuance of the bond is established “all the international rating agencies are going to downgrade the country, which means that when we conduct international business we don’t look at issues of probity and integrity.”

“I really don’t understand what the Minority stands to gain because the Minister of Finance had been in parliament and at that you should ask questions if there are some information that you wanted.

“You [Minority] had opportunity to question the Minister of finance, you didn’t do that. So I really don’t understand the benefit that the country stands to gain in pursuing this particular matter,” he stated on Morning Starr.

The Finance Minister Ofori-Atta has maintained that the $2.25 billion bond issued by the government in April was done transparently without any “breaches of integrity.”

Responding to the Minority’s claim in an hour long address before parliament on June 7, 2017,  he explicitly stated that nothing illicit or untoward occurred in the transaction noting “It may be tempting to say that the apparent attempt to manufacture some form of integrity deficit in the process is generally borne of out a lack of understanding of the actual process on the part of the minority.”

He added: “All prospective bidders bid through their primary dealers, who in turn submitted the investor’s bids through the Central Securities Depository platform. The joint transaction advisers then collate these bids to build up a book on which the bonds are issued.

“At no time during the book building process did the Ministry of Finance negotiate with any investor in any way, and it will indeed be quite difficult to manipulate the process when the three financial institutions are governed strictly by the Bank of Ghana’s rules and regulations.”

“There were no breaches of integrity either on government’s part or on the joint book runner’s part,” he emphasized.

-starrfmonline.com