The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (CCJ) has explained that there is no evidence of any corrupt scheme to use the Gold Royalties Monetisation Transaction arrangement, popularly referred to as the Agyapa Deal, to misappropriate Ghana’s gold to the detriment of the people of the country.
In its reasoning detailing why it dismissed a suit against the propriety of the Agyapa Deal, the CCJ said the applicants who filed the suit failed to prove their claim that the government of Ghana was seeking to use the Agyapa Deal to misappropriate the common wealth of Ghana.
It was the considered view of the court that the pieces of evidence of the applicants — Transparency International, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), which included a corruption risk assessment on the Agyapa Deal by a former Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Amidu, would not suffice in law as that evidence could not prove any attempt to siphon the wealth of Ghana.
The court dismissed the suit on July 10, this year but came out with its full judgment and reasoning yesterday.
NPP hails decision
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has hailed the decision of the CCJ, describing it as a vindication for the government.
“As a party and government, we are happy particularly that it was an ECOWAS Community Court of Justice that adjudicated the issue and arrived at the conclusion that there was no wrongdoing with the spirited move by the government to leverage our mineral incomes to accelerate development,” the Director of Communications of the NPP, Richard Ahiagbah, said in a statement.
Per the judgment, the three-member panel of the sub-regional court held that the evidence before them indicated that the Agyapa Deal had passed through all the due process, including the approval from the Parliament of Ghana.
“What this court has before it is in fact evidence of processes that flow from democratic institutions and have gained approval from the people’s representatives, that is Parliament.
“There is no evidence before this court pointing to the actual misappropriation of the common wealth of the people of Ghana that has deprived the people from benefiting from it,” the court held.
The court therefore dismissed reliefs of the plaintiffs, including the cardinal one which was that the Agyapa deal was a violation of Article 21(1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which stipulates that natural resources of African countries would be utilised in the interest of citizens of such countries.
The three-member panel of the court which sat on the case in Abuja included Justice Dupe Atoki from Nigeria, Justice Sengu Mohammed Koroma from Sierra Leone and Justice Ricardo Claudio Monteiro Goncalves from Cape Verde.
The NPP Director of Communications said at the heart of the matter was the establishment of Agyapa Royalties Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) owned solely by the government through the Minerals Income Investment Fund.
He explained that the entity aimed to publicly list up to 49 per cent of its shares on the London Stock Exchange, sparking extensive debates and accusations in the lead-up to the 2020 general election.
Mr Ahiagba praised the ECOWAS Court’s ruling, emphasising that it solidified the government’s steadfast commitment to transparent and legitimate practices.
He also commended the GII and the GACC for utilising their right to seek legal recourse and stated that the court’s verdict had comprehensively addressed their concerns.
“The ruling serves as a testament to the rule of law and the importance of civil society’s role in ensuring accountability,” Mr Ahiagba stated.
The NPP Communications Director also referenced President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s call for active citizenship, citing the civil society groups’ actions as a manifestation of that principle.
Mr Ahiagba said CSOs played an integral role in holding the government accountable, acknowledging that constructive criticism and concerns were vital in the democratic process.
He encouraged a continued dialogue between the government and those organisations for the betterment of the nation.
The NPP’s Director of Communications said the ruling was expected to bring closure to a contentious chapter and reaffirm the rule of law as a cornerstone of democratic governance in the country.
Parliament passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (MIIF Act 978) with the key objective of maximising the county’s mineral wealth for the benefit of Ghanaians, while ensuring that receiving royalties from gold mining companies was sustainable.
The law was amended to enable it to incorporate subsidiaries and to use it as a special purpose vehicle to do business across the world.
The main subsidiary of the MIIF and holding company, Agyapa Royalties Investment Ltd, will be listed on the LSE, while its subsidiary, ARG Royalties Ltd, will be quoted on the Ghana Stock Exchange, both through initial public offerings.
The company will be responsible for managing 75.6 per cent of the country’s royalty inflow from the 12 gold mining companies that currently operate in Ghana, with four more expected to come on stream.
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