Agyapa Royalties Deal Receives Greenlight, As ECOWAS Court Dismisses Lawsuit
The controversial Agyapa Royalties has finally received the greenlight to take off without any hindrance, for now, following a landmark ruling by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice.
The ECOWAS Court, during a virtual hearing held on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, dismissed the suit filed against the deal by anti-corruption groups – namely Transparency International, Ghana Integrity Initiative and Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition.
But, in its ruling, the court dismissed all the reliefs being sought by the plaintiffs. The court, however, is yet to make available the reasoning for its judgment in writing.
According to a report by Ghanaweb sighted by The Anchor, this means that the court will not be ordering the Government of Ghana to stop the sale of the country’s gold royalties through the Agyapa deal.
But in a statement published on its website (www.transparency.org), the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition and the Transparency International expressed their disappointment in the ruling.
They mentioned that, one of their reasons for the disappointment is the fact that the judges saw no need for an action to prevent the violation of the rights of Ghanaians that is bound to happen if the deal proceeds.
According to them, the deal would serve corrupt interests and not the people of Ghana, and therefore call on the government to terminate the already stalled Agyapa deal once and for all.
“After more than a year since first hearing the case brought by the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition and Transparency International, the judges have now ruled in favour of the Government of Ghana. A comprehensive analysis of the court’s reasoning will be possible only after the judgement is available in writing.
“Based on the read-out of the judgement during yesterday’s hearing, the court is refusing to act primarily because harm has not yet occurred. It is unfortunate that judges did not see the merit in our plea that the court should prevent the impending violations of people’s rights over their natural resources,” parts of the statement read.
It added that it is now up to the Parliament of Ghana and the President to ensure this deal, which is not in the interest of the country, is not approved.
Below Is Published, The Reliefs Transparency International Was Seeking:
1. A declaration that the Defendant’s actions towards entering into a relationship agreement with Minerals Income Investment Fund and Agyapa Royalties Limited in respect of transactions surrendering the sovereignty of Ghana over its gold mineral resources in perpetuity constitute an interference with the right guaranteed under Article 21(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights as well as violation of Articles 2(1) And (2), 3(1), 16(1) And 17(3) of The Revised African Convention On The Conservation Of Nature And Natural Resources (revised Maputo Convention).
2. An order restraining Defendant from implementing the Agyapa deal, and cancelling/terminating the already existing contracts.
3. An order mandating the Defendant, where it desires to raise immediate funds from gold royalties, to restart the planning, impact assessment, consultations and other preparations in line with its international human rights law obligations.
4. An order mandating the Defendant to undertake a thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged corruption offences and ensure that any alleged perpetrators are brought to justice and held accountable for any violations.
5. An order mandating Defendant to immediately review its existing relevant national laws and policies to:
(a). Provide for adequate and effective safeguards against violation of the Right to Free Disposal of Wealth and Natural Resources by public officials and public bodies.
(b). Follow Revised ECOWAS Treaty’s fundamental principles enshrined in Article 4 paragraphs g) and h) and ensure compliance with its Article 31.
(c). Ensure that any entity with the function of sovereign wealth fund complies with the best international standards, such as the Santiago Principles.
6. Other consequential order (s) as this honourable court may deem fit to grant in the circumstance.
On August 14, 2020, Parliament approved the Agyapa Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement and four related documents to allow for the monetisation of Ghana’s future gold royalties.
Under the agreement, Agyapa Mineral Royalties Limited has been incorporated in Jersey near UK to receive and manage royalties from 16 gold mining leases over the next 15 years or so.
In exchange, the firm will list on the London and Ghana Stock Exchanges later this year and raise at least $500 million for government to invest in infrastructure, health and education.
How Agyapa Royalties will operate
– Agyapa Royalties Limited will trade shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange for the private market.
– Mineral Income Investment Fund will remain the majority shareholder.
– ARL will raise between $500 million and $750 million for government to use for developmental initiatives – the government has revealed the four key areas of investment will be education expenditure, primary capital, health and infrastructural development.
– Future resources from gold royalties will go to ARL shareholders instead of the Mineral Investment Fund and for that matter government. Essentially, the government is mortgaging expected royalties from gold in exchange for about $500 million – $750 million from ARL.