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Ghana Parliament asked to overturn risky Agyapa gold royalties deal

Ghana’s lawmakers should reject a controversial deal that would sell most of Ghana’s future gold royalties to a Jersey-based company, local civil society groups said yesterday. An alliance of 25 organisations – including Ghana Integrity Initiative, Transparency International’s national chapter – called on Parliament to roll back the transactions.

The appeal follows a scathing report from the Special Prosecutor which reportedly highlights grave irregularities, conflicts of interest, nepotism and other breaches of law by the executive branch in setting up the proposed deal.

Under the plan, Ghana is set to sell almost 76 per cent of the royalties generated from 16 large gold mines to Agyapa Royalties Limited – a special purpose vehicle company registered in the British Crown dependency of Jersey. Forty-nine per cent of Agyapa Royalties shares are to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Special Prosecutor found that the sale of royalties to a company based in a known tax haven and a secrecy jurisdiction carries risks of money laundering and generating illicit financial flows.

Since August, civil society in Ghana has been warning that, should the deal go forward, Africa’s largest gold producing nation would lose revenue from vital national assets. The government has until the end of the year to finalise the deal, underscoring the urgency for parliamentary action.

The arrangement, previously rushed through parliamentary approval despite a walk-out by the opposition, is now being returned to the legislature. Civil society urges the Parliament to reject the deal and its transaction agreements completely.

The civil society alliance also called on the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute breaches of law to establish accountabilities.

“The abrogation of the Agyapa transaction should lay the grounds for a more open and consultative process for options and solutions to getting the best value for our mineral resources," the joint civil society address concludes.

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