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Patronage of $2.25 billion local bond showed high investor confidence - Ofori-Atta

June 7, 2017, 5:44 p.m.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says the high patronage of the controversial $2.25 billion local bond, issued in April showed a renewed investor confidence in the country.

He said unlike the past administration which had deficit of investor confidence, the new government is enjoying colossal support from the international financial market.

“Nothing has changed [with the issuance of bonds]. The only thing that has changed is the renewed confidence of investors in us,” he told Parliament Wednesday.

The Finance Minister made the remark when he addressed Parliament following a half-hour motion filed by the Minority over the contentious $2.25 billion local bond issued.

The Minority in Parliament has said the manner in which the bond was issued smacks of an attempt to allow only cronies of the government to patronize it.

The NDC MPs said they are convinced there is a 'relational interest' between the Finance Minister and one of the investment companies that patronized the bond – Franklyn Templeton Investment.

They said one Trevor G. Trefgarne who is on the Board of the US investment firm may have influenced the direction of the bond issuance because of his connection with Mr Ofori-Atta. Mr Trefgarne also doubles as the Board Chairman of the Enterprise Insurance Limited.

The Minority has petitioned the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the issue.

Deputy Minority leader, James Avedzi has said their petition to the US body is in the interest of Ghana.

In a bid to press for more answers, Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu moved for a half-hour motion to allow the Finance Minister to present a statement on the bond. The motion was seconded by the Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu.

Standing before the MPs clad in blue suit with a red tie Wednesday, the Finance Minister maintained nothing untoward was done in the issuance of the bond as has been speculated by the Minority.

"The bond in question complied in every material detail to the tenets of the rules and regulations governing securities," he said, adding the April domestic bond was issued in cedis as directed by the law.

Mr Ofori-Atta also said the joint book runners - Barclays, Stanbic and SAS - government chose to issue the bond were the same people used by the previous administration.

The book runners are financial institutions that announce and publish every impending bond issue to the market by providing details about the week of issue and price guidance.

The Finance Minister said the $2.25 billion domestic bond issued was no different and was done in conformity with the established process.

"Let me assure this House we did not deviate in the issuing of the 7 years and 15 years bonds," he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said government will continue to work to improve the situation in the country to attract more investors. "We will fight poverty when we see it and we will fight to protect the public purse."

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