2.25 bn bond issue: CHRAJ report can be quashed in court – Emile Short

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm January 4, 2018 06:02

2.25 bn bond issue: CHRAJ report can be quashed in court – Emile Short

A former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has counselled the government to file a motion at the court to challenge a report on the $2.25 billion bond issue involving Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

Justice Emile Short says although a decision has been made on the matter by CHRAJ, lawyers for Mr Ofori-Atta “can file an application in the high court to quash the entire decision.”

Mr Ofori-Atta was recently cleared of allegations of conflict of interest in the issuance of some bonds, allegations brought forth by a citizen, Mr Yaw Brogya Genfi.

Ken Ofori-Atta1

Finance Miniser, Ken Ofori-Atta

 

Mr Genfi had petitioned CHRAJ in April last year, claiming “a number of issues of conflict of interest and lack of transparency have emerged from the bond issuance.”

According to him, the bonds were not on the issuance calendar, and that the transaction seemed to have been shrouded in secrecy with the bond processes being limited to one day compared to past processes that were open.

Although a five-month investigation by CHRAJ found no evidence of conflict of interest, Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, says the findings of the report are fraught with inaccuracies that could be used by political opponents – chiefly the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) – to make scandalous claims against the Finance Minister.

Related: Finance Minister requests 15 days to deal with CHRAJ queries on $2.25bn bond

Mr Dame is particularly concerned CHRAJ’s finding that Ken Ofori-Atta has not disclosed all his assets and interest is unfortunate.

Although he welcomes CHRAJ’s finding that Mr Ofori-Atta did nothing wrong in the issuance of the bonds, he believes that CHRAJ had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

Commenting on the matter, former CHRAJ Commissioner, Justice Emile Short, says the Attorney-General’s department, which has been defending the Minister against the allegations, can fall on the courts to redeem the Minister’s image.

“If the issue [about CHRAJ’s jurisdiction to the case] was raised, and CHRAJ gave a decision on that preliminary legal point, then if the lawyer for the Minister was not satisfied, the lawyer would have been entitled to go the court to ask for an order to prohibit CHRAJ from going ahead with the case,” said Justice Emile Short.

Meanwhile, the Minority is threatening to trigger processes within Parliament to implement the recommendations of CHRAJ.

CHRAJ charged the Finance Minister to take measures in preventing Primary Dealers who are also Transaction Advisors from gaining an unfair advantage because of their dual roles.

It urged the implementation of section 56 of the Public Financial Management Act, 921 of 2016 in the shortest possible time due to the imperative of Bonds becoming a feature of the country’s debt payment system and the appetite of investors.

The Minority says it has tendered in the CHRAJ report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) as one of its primary evidence of wrongdoing by the Finance Minister in the controversial bonds issue.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm January 4, 2018 06:02
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