Agyapa deal: Petty and unpatriotic CSOs behaving like neo-colonialists Says Danquah Institute

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Danquah Institute (DI) has noted that the constant opposition by some civil society organisations to the Agyapa royalties’ transaction is “petty, unpatriotic, and simply embarrassing”, saying “posterity will judge the cynical position taken by civil society harshly”.

DI contends that the “Agyapa deal exposes something very worrying about our society: something akin to a neo-colonialist mentality that fights against novel attempts to do things differently to earn us more from our rich natural resources.”

It has therefore urged its colleague CSOs to rethink their hardline opposition to Agyapa since it is unproductive and unprogressive.

A statement signed by DI’s Executive Director, Richard Ahiagbah, expressed worry that some CSOs now believe their civic responsibility is, arguably, to oppose rather than offer constructive support to nation-building efforts.

“Is it sad when these same voices of oppositionism see nothing wrong with the low-value Ghana gets from the exploitation of our wealth by foreign companies, and, yet, they scream over fees paid to transaction advisors who are working day and night to help the nation find better ways to earn more from our minerals?”

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Support

The statement declared “support for the position taken by the President, which is to take into account all the useful contributions made, review the procurement processes … and return the agreements to Parliament for greater scrutiny, with the view to allow the listing to take place.”

It noted that the Agyapa transaction is just another piece in the transformation jigsaw of President Akufo-Addo.

The think tank further expressed the hope that objectivity, positive patriotism, and commitment to the public interest would replace “the purist devotion to this disturbing new culture of oppositionism and cynicism”.

“Agyapa is good for Ghana. At the Danquah Institute, we believe Agyapa portends long-term benefits for Ghana, hence we support the directive by President Akufo-Addo to get it done but to get it done manifestly right,” the statement said.

The Danquah Institute recounted how, in June 2010, it described the 17.34 per cent upfront political risk insurance premium for the $1.5 billion STX Housing loan agreement as a “rip-off’ and that cheaper options were available, without focusing on Star Assurance, a company founded by then Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor, which was helped to arrange the $264 million insurance premium for the deal.

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“We chose not to focus on that aspect because we knew that Star Assurance was set up well before Dr Duffuor became Finance Minister, and Star Assurance was credible enough to do the work,” the statement said.

It therefore expressed disappointment in the changing positions of the CSOs against the Agyapa deal, including having issues with the individuals linked to the transaction.

“Today, CSOs are questioning how the Databank Group, which has won more awards than any other securities company in the country, could become a transaction advisor for Agyapa. It does not matter that Databank has been involved in every IPO for every state enterprise in Ghana since 1990 and has worked with all governments under the Fourth Republic. Such negativism from CSOs turns to make CSOs appear as anti-progress, anti-free market, and antibusiness,” it said.

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“We are refraining from focusing on the National Democratic Congress because they are now against a refined form of the very thing they tried to do in 2010-2012 but failed: the Ghana Gold Company (GCC), promoted by the former Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, in the 2010 budget. Ironically, the NDC are today eager to go on a demonstration to demand back payments legitimately earned by transaction advisors but have no appetite to even talk about how Ghana can get back, according to court papers in the United Kingdom, US, and France, 5 million euros paid by Airbus as bribes through the younger brother of the NDC Presidential Candidate in a transaction which the evidence show was led right from the beginning to the end by the then Vice President John Dramani Mahama,” the statement added.

Source: eveningmailgh.com

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