28 May Firms of Ofori Atta, Adu Boahen appointed advisors to Finance Min. – Adongo
28 May 2021
Finance firms owned by Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta and Minister of State at the Finance Ministry Charles Adu Boahen have been named transaction advisors to the Finance Ministry, Bolgatanga lawmaker Isaac Adongo has said.
According to him, Black Star Brokerage owned by the Minister of State and Databank founded by the Finance Minister have been named among the three primary dealers selected by the ministry.
“The Ministry of Finance headed by Messers Ken Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen just announced a list of primary dealers and introduced a new term called Bond Market Specialists. Interestingly, firms owned by these two personalities, Databank owned by Ken Ofori Atta and Blackstar Brokerage Limited owned by Charles Adu Boahen have been selected as two of the three local investment advisory firms,” the lawmaker wrote in a statement.
He said the two public officials are caught in a conflict of interest situation.
“This is a clear conflict of interest. The Minister for Finance has made government borrowing his private business and benefitting each time Government borrows through Databank either as a bookrunner or Co-Manager of Eurobond issuance”.
He said their position makes it difficult to appreciate objectively the reasons behind government’s increased borrowing.
Below are details of the statement
If you ever wondered why Ghana’s public debt has since 2017 been growing at an unexplained geometric sequence, the reasons are here:
Those in charge of the borrowing, stand to personally profit from the borrowing through the reward in fees to their companies who serve as their transportation advisors.
Whilst the corporate esteem of Ghana is on a nosedive and the future generations are being saddled with a debilitating debt, the worth of companies owned by persons at the forefront of the borrowing decisions keep soaring.
Appointment of Databank and Black Star Brokerage as Transaction Advisors to the Ministry of Finance is a deadly combination of Ken Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen in Motion without shame.
The Ministry of Finance headed by Messers Ken Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen just announced a list of primary dealers and introduced a new term called Bond Market Specialists. Interestingly, firms owned by these two personalities, Databank owned by Ken Ofori Atta and Blackstar Brokerage Limited owned by Charles Adu Boahen have been selected as two of the three local investment advisory firms.
The duo, Ken Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen have thus literally awarded to themselves through their companies the lucrative contracts that involve managing Government’s borrowing program with an estimated Ghc60 billion a year gross financing. The fees to be shared by the transaction advisors of Government borrowing program, including Ken Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen’s companies is estimated at Ghc210 million a year.
This is a clear conflict of interest. The Minister for Finance has made government borrowing his private business and benefitting each time Government borrows through Databank either as a bookrunner or Co-Manager of Eurobond issuance.
Ken Ofori Atta’s Databank has now been joined by Charles Adu Boahen’s Blackstar Brokerage Limited to share the spoils. The combination of this deadly team is set to further engage in reckless borrowing as evidenced in the more than doubling of Ghana’s public debt from Ghc120 billion at the beginning of 2017 to about Ghc300 billion by the end of 2020. In addition to the about Ghc180 billion increase in Ghana’s public debt, about Ghc70 billion of the end 2016 debt of Ghc120 billion were refinanced and in some instances reprofilled between 2017 and 2020.
This means that a total of about Ghc250 billion Government borrowing program was carried out in the last four years with Ken Ofori Atta’s Databank acting as his transaction advisors. The accrued fees shared by the transaction advisors, including Databank is estimated at 0.35% of the borrowing program of Government. That is about Ghc875 million fees paid by Ghana to these transaction advisors.
No wonder Ghana is bleeding from excessive reckless borrowing without any meaningful benefits to the suffering taxpayers.
This harrowing public debt program was fested on Ghanaians when only Ken Ofori Atta’s Databank was involved. I am scared for Ghana when I think of Charles Adu Boahen’s Blackstar Brokerage now joining the fray to share the spoils. How big will the Government’s borrowing program be to ensure that Databank maintains its fees income from the last four years and leave some spoils for Charles Adu Boahen’s Blackstar Brokerage to help itself with.
Since they came to power, there is no bond transaction for government that the Minister didn’t benefit personally from through Databank and now Charles Adu Boahen through Blackstar Brokerage.
Charles Adu Boahen who sat and is expected to sit on the Board of Bank of Ghana where Databank and Blackstar Brokerage will be operating from as transaction advisors. He also sat and is expected to sit on the Governing Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission that regulates Databank and Blackstar Brokerage Limited. The bonds and other Government debts to be issued through these companies are also expected to be approved by Charles Adu Boahen sitting on the SEC.
As a matter of fact, any complaints relating to these companies would be directed at SEC on whose Governing Board sits Charles Adu Boahen and controlled by a former Vice President of Databank, Rev Ogbamey Tetteh who masterminded policy rollout that has collapsed the securities sector of Ghana.
Where lies the independence of the dealers and advisers to government on borrowing. Are decisions about borrowing and interest cost being made in the interest of Ghana or private businessmen? Sheer and crude profiteering at the expense of Ghanaians. Always promoting their firms and personal interests.
How do we protect against insider trading when the very people taking decisions on interest rates and bond structuring are themselves direct beneficiaries of the outcome of their decisions through their companies?
Ghana has been bleeding and I fear it will bleed even more with Ken Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen now hand holding the interests of Databank and Blackstar Brokerage.
Who watches the watchman?