Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Hon. Gloria Akuffo, has officially stated that she does not have information relating to the controversial 2.25 billion dollars bond issued by the Finance Minister and purchased by friends/associates of the Finance Minister!
“Please be informed that the information being sought per your letter is not available to me and I am therefore unable to respond to the questions posed therein,” was the A-G’s response to a letter addressed to her by Lawyer Victor Kwadjoga Adawudu Esq, requesting for information on the transaction.
Lawyer Adawudu wrote to the A-G requesting, among other things, to “(a) please provide the date and the exact time all the Bond Transactions were opened or announced to investors to participate; (b) How was each of the transactions communicated to investors? (c) Before the official communication to investors of the opening of the Bonds did the Ministry or any of its officials directly or indirectly discuss any aspects of the Bonds with any of the investors?”
Other information Lawyer Adawudu requested were about, “(d) the date and time the Bond Transactions closed; (e) the date and time the summary of issuance was made known to investors and the public.”
Lawyer Adawudu also asked the A-G to “(f) please confirm the coupon prices for all the Bonds issued; (g) whether or not there was any roadshow towards the issuance of the Bonds;
(h) if yes, where did it take place, and what was the duration of the roadshow.”
In a response letter dated 8th May, 2017, with reference number AGD/SCR/005/17, and signed by the Honourable Gloria Akuffo personally, the A-G stated emphatically that “…the information being sought per your letter is not available to me and I am therefore unable to respond to the questions posed…”
The A-G’s response lends credence to speculations that the whole bond transaction did not go before Cabinet for approval.
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice being the principal legal advisor to government, is not just an automatic member of Cabinet per the provisions of the 1992 constitution, the A-G is also a senior member of Cabinet.
The A-G’s response did not decline to provide the requested information on the basis of confidentiality or official secrecy, but on the basis that the requested information is “NOT AVAILABLE TO ME”.
Did the 2.25 billion dollars bond transaction that would make the Finance Minister’s friends/associates, Trevor G. Trefgarne and Franklin Templeton, richer by more than 7.3 billion dollars by the end of the fifteenth year of the investment go before Cabinet? If it did go before Cabinet why is the honourable Attorney-General unaware of it?
The 2.25 billion dollars investment, according to financial analysts, is equivalent conservatively to 10 billion Ghana cedis. At a dollar to cedi exchange rate of 1 dollar to 4 Ghana cedis, and at 19.5% interest per annum on the cedi bond, it means that Ghana would be required to 1.95 billion cedis every year in interest payments!
According to analysts, 1.95 billion Ghana cedis, assuming the cedi remains at 1 dollar to 4 Ghana cedis, this would mean that the dollar equivalent interest rate on bond will be 487 million dollars a year.
This means that yearly interest payments of 487 million dollars over 15 years alone will amount to 7.3 billion dollars!
To top it all, after 15 years Ghana would be required to make a single bullet payment of the principal amount of the 2.25 billion dollars to Trevor G. Trefgarne and Templeton!
This means that by the fifteenth year Trevor G. and Templeton would have taken out a whopping 7.3 billion dollars from Ghana, in addition to their investment of 2.25 billion dollars.
Indeed, the situation could even get worse if, as appears to be very likely, the cedi falls even further against the dollar!
So Templeton is going to make $9.55b by the end of the bond period on an investment of $2.25b.
According to financial analysts, a straight dollar bond would have attracted an interest rate of around 10% much lower than 19.5% on a dollar indexed cedi bond and would have saved the nation a lot of money.