Agyapa Deal: Okyeman Youth Bares Teeth over NDC’s “Akyem Sakawa Boys” Comment

The Concerned Citizens of Okyeman have demonstrated in Asamankese, calling for the withdrawal and apology over the "Akyem Sakawa Boys" comment made by the National Democratic Congress concerning the Agyapa Deal.

Agyapa Deal: Okyeman Youth Bares Teeth over NDC’s “Akyem Sakawa Boys” Comment
Photo Credit: Kojo Ansah Sasraku (Facebook)

An interest group called the Concerned Citizens of Okyeman in the Eastern region on Wednesday, demanded an unqualified apology and retraction of the controversial “Akyem Sakawa Boys” made from the camp of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The group clad in black and red, holding placards, thronged to Asamankese to embark on a demonstration, aimed at also condemning the statement they describe as divisive, ballistic, and tribalistic.

NDC stalwart and Bolgatanga Central MP, Isaac Adongo (Hon.), is alleged to have described the top management on the contentious gold royalties “Agyapa Deal”, as “Akyem Sakawa Boys” to wit big-time scammers from Akyem.

This comment, according to some of the general public, was subtly endorsed by the Ex-President and NDC Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama on his official social media timelines; a claim he denies, citing the reasons he does not meddle in bigotry and moreover his National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, being from the area.

It will be recalled that Mr. Mahama is allegedly described the Akyem-Abuakwa area as the “headquarters of galamsey” after a working tour in 2014.

Following all these, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a son of Okyeman, urged civil society organizations, the clergy, and well-meaning citizens to condemn the comments, when the Catholic Bishops Conference paid him a visit at the Jubilee House.

Meanwhile speaking on the Fox Morning Drive on Wednesday, Executive Director for Okyeman Association and Convenor of the Concerned Citizens of Okyeman, Nana Ampem Darko intimated that, by virtue of the use of “Akyem”, it meant every indigene home or abroad was being slighted by the NDC and its leadership.

The Agyapa deal is part of the NPP’s administration’s strategy to beat the long-standing problem of lack of capital for developmental projects.

Successive governments have devised ways to source funding by either approaching the IMF, the international bond market, or the capital market.

The Genesis of Agyapa Deal (as narrated by Ghana Web)

The deal started in June 2018 when Parliament passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund (Act 2018) to manage the equity interests in mining companies and also receive royalties on behalf of the Government of Ghana.

The Minerals Income Investment Fund is mandated to manage and invest these royalties and revenue it receives on behalf of Ghana and invest them for higher returns.

To do this, the law enables the Fund to establish Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to appropriate these investments.

Amendment

In July 2020, the government introduced an amendment to the Act to ensure that the SPVs that the Fund would establish to manage investments get unrestricted independence.

On the back of the amendment and the original provisions of the act, the Minerals Income Investment Fund set up an offshore limited liability company known as Agyapa Royalties Limited (previously Asaase Royalties Limited).

The Agyapa Royalties Ltd is incorporated in Bailieick of Jersey in the UK, a tax haven. It has been incorporated in a tax haven to cut out the associated high tax charges to the returns that will accrue to the state from the investments.

Agyapa Royalties Limited is registered in Ghana as an external company.

The main controversy over the deal is linked with the initial name for the SPV, Asaase Royalties. It has been alleged that some powerful people in current government-owned Asaase Royalties and the name was changed quickly when the cover was blown.

How Agyapa Royalties will operate

- Agyapa Royalties Limited will trade shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange for the private market.

- Mineral Income Investment Fund will remain the majority shareholder.

- ARL will raise between $500 million and $750 million for the government to use for developmental initiatives–the government has revealed the four key areas of investment will be education expenditure, primary capital, health, and infrastructural development.

- Future resources from gold royalties will go to ARL shareholders instead of the Mineral Investment Fund and for that matter government. Essentially, the government is mortgaging expected royalties from gold in exchange for about $500 million – $750 million from ARL.

Concerns and Controversy

- That creating the SVP as an offshore company in a tax haven will make it difficult to oversight the firm.

- That the agreement makes it impossible for a future government to replace managers of Agyapa Royalties although the Minerals Income Investment Fund will remain the majority shareholder.

- That the whole deal fails the test of transparency because it is based on the hasty amendment to the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act

- That the deal is bad because it seeks to mortgage future revenues from gold royalties for a lump sum money now.

- Fifteen CSOs in the extractive sector, fronting under the name “Alliance of CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance” want the deal suspended for lack of transparency.

- The main controversy over the deal is linked with the initial name for the SPV, Asaase Royalties. It has been alleged that some powerful people in current government-owned Asaase Royalties and the name was changed quickly when the cover was blown.

The identities of the top management of Agyapa Royalties, like the son of Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has also been a source of controversy.