Sammy Gyamfi Blows Cover On Lithium Deal Shareholders
…NDC Party Chairman’s Son, Nunoo Mensah Names Pop Up
The transparency challenge thrown by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, for full disclosure of beneficiary owners of the 4.4 per cent shareholding in Barari DV Ghana Ltd deal has produced some shocking revelations.
Details have emerged that the equity stake in the lithium mining agreement was rather largely owned by certain businessmen linked to the opposition party, including the son of the national chairman, contrary to the notion that the shares were hijacked by elements within the Akufo-Addo administration.
Insiders told The Anchor that, apart from Mr. Ben Nunoo-Mensah, the president of the Ghana Olympic Committee, who is the beneficiary owner of the 4.4 per cent shares, one Mr. Albert Nketia, alleged to be the son of Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, also owns shares in the deal.
Mr. Albert Nketia, this paper gathered, allegedly acquired the shares through his company, by name Joy Transporters Limited. Not much, was known about how long Albert Nketia’s firm had acquired the shares.
It is also unclear, whether the NDC national communications officer knew about this information, prior to his challenge to Government to disclose the identity of the shareholders of the deal.
Mr. Nunoo-Mensah, The Anchor is informed, had his shares in Barari DV Ghana, dated back to 2012, under the NDC administration.
But insiders argue that, Mr. Nunoo-Mensah, being a Ghanaian, has every right to invest in the country’s natural resources.
Mr. Gyamfi, in his call, stressed the NDC’s commitment to transparency, demanding a comprehensive disclosure of the beneficiary owners associated with the 4.4% equity.
“In the spirit of transparency, the NDC demands a full disclosure of the identities of the Beneficial Owners of that 4.4% Equity and how that was arrived at. Ghanaians deserve to know who these ‘previous land owners’ are,” he stated and called for a clear explanation of the allocation process.
Amid concerns over the lack of a feasibility report and mandatory local processing of Ghana’s lithium resources, Sammy Gyamfi argued that the Ghana-Barari Lithium deal is not in the best interest of the country.
He insisted that, “Ratification of the Mining Lease agreement should not even arise at this stage.”
Nothing to hide
But speaking at a stakeholder engagement with civil society organizations in Accra on Friday, December 15, on the Lithium deal, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources who confirmed Ben Nunoo Mensah shares said, the Government had nothing to hide regarding the Lithium Lease Agreement.
According to Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, government will continue to engage relevant bodies to ensure Ghanaians became the ultimate beneficiaries of the country’s resources.
“As the debate is ongoing regarding the Lithium Lease Agreement involving the academia, civil society organizations and so forth, the platform is open to talk to each other, jaw jaw and brainstorm on the management of our natural resources to bring progress,” he said.
“And I believe with our collective wisdom, we can have positive way forward,” the Ghana News Agency (GNA) quoted the minister to have said.
However, the minister said it was important to segregate opinions and emotions from the real facts and data.
The Government knew the issues regarding mining in Ghana, spanning over a century and, therefore, it went through a laborious process to ensure that Ghana’s green minerals, which Lithium is part, benefitted the people, he noted.
“In that regard, the President insisted that a policy framework was developed for the green minerals before any negotiations commenced,” he said.
Hence, the policy framework developed required a minimum of seven per cent royalty rate, higher than the five per cent accepted in other minerals.
Mr. Jinapor, for instance, said in the Lithium Lease Agreement signed with Barari DV Ghana Limited, the parties agreed that the State would have 19 per cent Free Carried Interest with an option of scaling up to a minimum of 30 per cent.
“There is a 13 per cent royalties, higher than the 10 per cent in the previous agreement, 35 per cent corporate income tax, while one per cent of the Company’s revenues would go to Community Development Fund.
“There is also a requirement to establish a refinery to process Lithium locally before export.”
“The State also has 3% shares in the local company (Barari DV Ghana Ltd) and 6% in Atlanta Lithium global.”
“More so, the Lease Agreement must go through Parliament for consideration and ratification before it can be validated,” he said.
On refining the lithium ore locally, the minister said either Barari DV Ltd could establish a refinery to process it or give it to a third party to do so.
That, he believed, would enable the nation to benefit fully from the entire value chain of lithium exploitation.
Madam Nafi Chinnery, Africa Director, Natural Resource Governance Institute, in her opening remarks, said the engagement with the CSOs would allow government to receive actionable recommendations and inputs to guide Parliamentary debates on the proposed Lithium Agreement.
It would also foster understanding of the content of the Agreement and provide accurate information and data on the potential quality, value and revenue expected from the mineral’s exploitation to guide public discourse.
Some participants called for amendments to the country’s mining and mineral laws to be in sync with the terms agreed in the Lithium Agreement.