$2.25b Bond: Ofori-Atta Not Out Of The Woods Yet; Sued With CHRAJ

An anti-graft group has dragged CHRAJ to the Supreme Court for overstepping its bounds in the 2.25 billion-dollar bond case in which the finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta is accused of conflict of interest.

The group, Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG) is claiming CHRAJ in determining a petition on the controversial bond, made some serious pronouncements, which in its view, contravenes aspects of the 1992 constitution.

DYMOG on May 8, 2017 petitioned the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the transparency of the bond, its classification and a claim of possible conflict of interest in the issuance of the said bond.

READ: Akufo-Addo gov’t erred in $2.25bn bond issuance – Group

Prior to that CHRAJ was on April 25, 2017 petitioned to investigate the issue of lack of transparency and a possible case of conflict of interest against Mr. Ofori-Atta in government’s issuance of the 2.25 billon-dollar bond.

In its findings, CHRAJ established the finance minister breached the Guidelines for the Government Securities Market for Primary Dealers” that regulate the issuance of Government Securities.

It also held that bonds are forms of government borrowing irrespective of the type, hence the issuance of the 2.25 billon-dollar bond ought to have gone through parliamentary approval as per Article 181 of the Constitution.

The finance minister, in CHRAJ’s view, breached that provision of the constitution.

CHRAJ further established Mr. Ofori-Atta’s interest in Databank and Enterprise Group Limited whose objects are linked to the securities industry, places him in a high conflict of interest situation.

It again claimed Mr. Ofori-Atta’s failure to declare all his assets in Data Bank Financial Services, Data Bank Brokerage Limited and Databank Financial Holdings Limited was a violation of Article 286 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

CHRAJ oversteps its remit

But DYMOG is accusing CHRAJ of going overboard to make some pronouncements on the matter that are outside its remit, something the group argued “constitute a blatant violation of our Laws”.At a news conference in Accra Friday, Executive Convenor of the DYMOG, Edward Tuttor, announced they have issued a writ against CHRAJ, Mr. Ofori-Atta and the AG over the matter.

“Interestingly, DYMOG is taking on CHRAJ because she declared judgment on Ken Ofori -Atta with regards to the issue of, Conflict of Interest. We believe it will take a court of competent Jurisdiction to pass judgment on that matter and not CHRAJ,” he averred.

He observed that the findings of CHRAJ are enough, hence their resolve to go to the Supreme Court to remedy the violations of CHRAJ.

“The Supreme Court is the best place to go so that our laws can be interpreted and enforced to its logical conclusion. That is why we are going to the Supreme Court,” he explained.

Reliefs being sought

In their writ, the group is seeking a declaration that by going beyond investigations to make a pronouncement (of guilt or otherwise) on the Mr. Ofori-Atta in respect of the allegation of breach of conflict of interest, CHRAJ contravened Article 287 of the 1992 Constitution.

The group also wants the court to declare that the failure of Mr. Ofori-Atta to declare his shareholding interests in Data Bank Financial Services Limited, Data Bank Brokerage Limited and Data Bank Financial Holdings Limited to the Auditor-General before taking office as Minister of Finance, as found by the CHRAJ, contravenes Article 286(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution.

A declaration that by issuing or overseeing the issuance of the said bonds to Templeton without disclosing his relational interest with a director at Templeton, one Trevor G. Trefgarne, Mr. Ofori-Atta acted in contravention of Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution.

DYMOG also seeks a declaration that by issuing or overseeing the issuance of the said bonds without disclosing his interests in the securities industries in general, Mr. Ofori-Atta breached Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution.