A former lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Richard Amoako Baah, has wondered why President Nana Akufo-Addo’s cousin, Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, is the one purporting to speak for Attorney General Gloria Akuffo with regard to the controversial Agyapa deal following the leakage of the AG’s scathing legal opinion on the agreement.
Mr Otchere-Darko had told Osei Bonsu on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen political talk show on Friday, 28 August 2020 that in the AG’s final letter dated 12 August 2020, Gloria Akuffo made a U-turn on her initial position, saying: “We have reviewed the latest letter under reference and the submitted drafts agreement and note that our comments have been incorporated and changes effected to the draft agreements.”
According to Mr Otchere-Darko of Africa Legal Associates, one of the legal firms advising on the deal, the AG reviewed her earlier position after several engagements with the lawyers advising on the deal.
Mr Asare-Otchere Darko’s clarification followed widespread media reports on the AG’s leaked scathing opinion on the deal in an earlier letter.
In that letter, Gloria Akuffo said: “The agreements run in perpetuity and, therefore, have no fixed term”.
“They are expected to run until the expiration of the last mining lease in Ghana”, the AG opined, adding: “The agreements also appear to be cast in stone with no options to evaluate their effectiveness and/or satisfactory performance so as to renew or terminate same should the need arise. This makes the agreement unconscionable”, the leaked legal opinion said.
Speaking to Kwabena Bobie Ansah on Accra100.5FM’s The Citizen Show on Tuesday, 1 September 2020 on the deal, Dr Amoako Baah, who is a stalwart of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the “Agyapa deal is a good idea but certain people have smuggled themselves into it with certain things which I am not happy about”.
Zeroing in on the AG’s leaked opinion and Mr Asare Otchere-Darko’s subsequent intervention, Dr Amoako Baah asked: “Is Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko the Attorney General? Is he the Attorney General’s spokesperson? Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko’s words are powerless. What’s his position in government? Whatever he says is unofficial”, questioning: “What’s his capacity? Is he a minister or what?”
Dr Amoako Baah said Ms Gloria Akuffo is the Attorney General and must be the one speaking on the matter rather than Mr Otchere-Darko “because what shows that what Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko said is true?”
“That is what is wrong with it”, Dr Amoako Baah asserted.
Concerning the litany of issues raised by the Attorney General in her leaked opinion, Dr Amoako Baah, who said “I respect Gloria Akuffo very well”, wondered: “Who wrote such an agreement? Is the person a Ghanaian and does the person have Ghana at heart? It’s not a good thing at all”.
In his view, being the Attorney General, Ms Gloria Akuffo “must write officially to clarify that she changed her legal opinion because Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko is not her spokesperson”.
Parliament, a few weeks ago, in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978), approved agreements to allow the country to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetise the mineral income accruing to Ghana in a sustainable and responsible manner.
The move gives Agyapa Royalties Limited the right to secure about $1 billion to enable the government to finance large infrastructural projects.
The Minority in Parliament boycotted the deal and accused the government of mortgaging Ghana’s gold resources.
Former President John Mahama, flagbearer of the biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), also reiterated the Minority’s concerns and said he will not respect the deal should he win the 7 December 2020 polls.
A coalition of CSOs in the mining industry has also kicked against it.
The AG’s leaked legal opinion expressed qualms about aspects of the deal.