The Finance Minister-designate, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta has dismissd the claims that he visited the then Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, at home to supposedly influence his corruption risk assessment of the controversial Agyapa royalties transaction.
Speaking at the Appointment Committee vetting, he stated that his visit was not to discuss the Agyapa deal or influence Martin Amidu’s report.
Mr. Ofori-Atta told the Committee that he had been informed that Mr. Amidu was unwell and as long time friends, he thought it best to pay him a visit at his home.
“Mr Chairman, as I have mentioned before, I’ve known the former Special Prosecutor [Martin Amidu] for a while now, and it wasn’t the first time I was going to his house. So I visited him at home. I had gone to his office on a Friday, and it was indicated to me that he was not feeling well, and he wasn’t in the office.”
“So on Saturday, I went to visit him and to provide him with some pieces of information he said he wasn’t getting from us [the Ministry of Finance]. But I think we all know Mr. Amidu is a very independent person, and so I didn’t visit him to attempt to change his view on his investigations.”
Amidu had accused Ofori-Atta of visiting him at home on October 21, 2020, when he was putting together his report on the Agyapa deal.
Mr. Amidu created the impression that, Ofori-Atta came there to influence the content of the report.
Amidu’s report subsequently compounded the woes of the controversial agreement which at the time, had been flagged by opposition parties and civil society organisations.
Government had wanted to securitize the country’s gold royalties so it could secure more money for developmental projects.
Meanwhile, answering questions before Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Friday, March 26, 2021, Ofori-Atta said he only visited Amidu because he heard he was unwell and also provide him with information on the Agyapa deal; a gesture misinterpreted by the citizen vigilante.
Ofori-Atta explained that Mr. Amidu is an independent person and cannot be influenced by anybody.
In November 2020, the former Special Prosecutor revealed that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta visited him at home when he was conducting the Corruption Risk Assessment on the Agyapa Royalty transaction, although Martin Amidu did not disclose what the two discussed.
Meanwhile, Mr Ofori-Atta during his vetting stated that Martin Amidu did “a disservice” to the country and its democracy by releasing his Corruption Risk Assessment on the Agyapa deal as he did not have an official response from the Ministry on the matter.
He stated that it was unfair for the Special Prosecutor not to listen to the Finance Ministry’s side of the story and to even go as far as rejecting a presentation on the Agyapa Deal from the Ministry.
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, the numerous “conjectures [in Amidu’s report] are inimical to growth, and it does not help the kind of freedom of policy orientation and innovation that we require for this country to grow”.
“For such a report to be put out in the public without us or myself as Minister of Finance having a chance to discuss it, is a disservice to our democracy,” he told Parliament’s Appointment Committee during his vetting on Thursday.