A Single Supreme Court Judge, Justice Gabriel Pwamang, has dismissed an interim application by Anti-graft organisation, Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana, (DYMOG), challenging the constitutionality of the decision by the Attorney General to represent the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta in a suit by DYMOG in the controversial $2.25 billon bond case.
DYMOG contended that the Finance Minister was being sued in his personal capacity and not in his official capacity as a Minister of State. However, in the courts ruling today, the presiding judge said the bond that was issued for which reason the Finance Minister was been dragged to Court was issued in his function as a minister of State and not as a private person.
It contended the Attorney General based on article 88 of the 1992 Constitution, is right in law to appear at the Apex Court of the land for and on behalf of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta. The court thus dismissed the interim application and has ordered the State to file an amended to their statement of case as requested.
The Ministry of Finance last year announced the successful issuance of 15 and 7 years bonds with the coupon rate of 19.5% raising a total of $1.13billion.
It also stated that it raised the cedi equivalent of $1.12billion in five and 10 years bonds via a tap in arrangement. This means the total amount raised through the bonds as at 3rd April 2017 was $2.25billion.
On April 25, 2017, a citizen, Yaw Brogya Genfi petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the bond transaction because he suspects that the Finance Minister was caught up in conflict of interest.
The Commission, however, after its investigations gave wide-ranging directives in relation to bond issuance in order to ensure transparency and clarity.
After five months of investigations, which included interviews with the parties involved, industry players, transaction advisors, security brokers and the Registrar General, CHRAJ concluded that: “On the basis of the evidence available to the Commission, it has come to the conclusion and therefore holds that the allegations by the complainant that the respondent has contravened Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution by putting himself in a conflict of interest situation in relation to the issuance of the 5-year, 7-year, 10-year and 15-year bonds, have not been substantiated.”
But in a statement, DYMOG dismissed CHRAJ’s clearance of the Finance Minister as “disappointing.”
It has therefore filed a suit at the Supreme Court praying among other things, a declaration that by going beyond investigations to make a pronouncement (of guilt or otherwise) on the 1st Defendant [Ken Ofori Atta] in respect of the allegation of breach of conflict of interest, the 2nd Defendant [CHRAJ] has contravened Article 287 of the 1992 Constitution.
It is also seeking the Court to declare that by interpreting Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution (as disclosed between paragraph 3 of page 127 and paragraph 3 of page 133 of the Report), CHRAJ has contravened Article 130(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution; and also a consequential order that the content of the report as specified in reliefs (a) and (b) above be expunged from the Report. Below are the reliefs being sought by the plaintiffs
THE RELIEFS SOUGHT ARE AS FOLLOWS
A declaration that by going beyond investigations to make a pronouncement (of guilt or otherwise) on the 1st Defendant in respect of the allegation of breach of conflict of interest, the 2nd Defendant has contravened Article 287 of the 1992 Constitution.
A declaration that by interpreting Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution (as disclosed between paragraph 3 of page 127 and paragraph 3 of page 133 of the Report), the 2nd Defendant has contravened Article 130(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution;
A consequential order that the content of the report as specified in reliefs (a) and (b) above be expunged from the Report;
A declaration that the failure of the 1st Defendant to declare his shareholding interests in Data Bank Financial Services Limited, Data Bank Brokerage Limited and Data Bank Financial Holdings Limited to the Auditor-General before taking office as Minister of Finance, as found by the 2nd Defendant at page 120 of the Report, contravenes Article 286(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution;
A declaration that the occupation by the 1st Defendant of the office of a director in Ventures and Acquisition Limited, a private company, while in office as the Minster responsible for finance without the due permission of the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament on the grounds stated by the law, contravenes Articles 78(3) of the 1992 Constitution;
A declaration that by issuing or overseeing the issuance of the said bonds to Templeton without disclosing his relational interest with a director at Templeton, one Trevor G. Trefgarne, the 1st Defendant has acted in contravention of Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution;
A declaration that by issuing or overseeing the issuance of the said bonds without disclosing his interests in the securities industries in general, the 1st Defendant has acted in contravention of Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution; and
Any other reliefs that this Honourable Court deems fit under the circumstances.