Veteran Ghanaian journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has jumped to the defence of Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo's son and President Nana Akufo-Addo's cousin's involvement in the Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal, saying happenings therein reminds him of controversies in 'Hotel Kufour' years back.
Addressing the issue during a panel discussion on Peace FM's'Kokrokoo', Kweku Baako also questioned the opposition's logic in citing a conflict of interest in the deal.
According to him, the fact that Kofi Osafo-Maafo and Mr. Otchere-Darko are related to the top government officials and the President does not disqualify them from handling the minerals royalties deal.
To Mr. Baako, he would see the importance in discussing the issues if the argument was about whether the gentlemen have the expertise to secure the deal or not, but they being relatives of the Senior Minister and President is inconsequential to the deal.
He further alluded to similar issues that characterized some events in the past.
He cited former President J.A Kufour's son whose ownership of the African Regent Hotel became a political topic with the former President receiving bashings from his political opponents and publications where former President John Mahama's brother, Ibrahim Mahama was said to own Merchant Bank.
In 2017, Ibrahim Mahama, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Engineers and Planners Ltd, was reported to have owned the Merchant Bank but managers of the bank denied the reports stressing he is neither a shareholder nor owner of the bank.
In all of these incidents among others, Kweku Baako, speaking to host Kwami Sefa Kayi, noted that he consistently defended Mr. Kufour's son as well as Ibrahim Mahama on the lines that they have the right to own businesses provided they use the right means.
He is today standing by the same conviction that the selection of the Senior Minister's son and Gabby Otchere-Darko in the Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal is in the right order.
"We have to be consistent. We have to be coherent . . I don't expect everybody to agree with me and I expect people who disagree to vehemently, if they like violently, disagree with me and criticize me . . . The way we're going around this politics, the so-called conflict of interest relative to political office holders over the period, I see a certain huge area of inconsistency and incoherence and I'm worried about that. This is not going to be the last time this will happen; you bet me!''
Senior Minister's Son & President's Cousin's Roles
The Senior Minister's son named Kofi Bosompem Osafo-Maafo and Gabby Otchere-Darko, a relative of the Finance Minister and the President of Ghana have been appointed as members of the Agyapa Mineral Royalties firm to handle the deal.
The roles of these two gentlemen have been met with vehement opposition as members and leaders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as well as the Minority in Parliament share a strong opinion that the selection of the Senior Minister's son and President's cousin is a conflict of interest.
Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority Spokesperson on Finance speaking on Joy News file programme, questioned the selection process asking ''was there a system in place that this government advertised for any Ghanaian to be able to have that opportunity; what type of recruitment process was done..?''
Parliament approved five agreements on Friday, August 14, 2020, to allow Agyapa Royalties Ltd, a Special Purpose Vehicle, to secure about $1 billion for Ghana's minerals sector.
The deal is to permit Agyapa Royalties Ltd to operate as an independent private sector entity and raise funds from the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The Agyapa Royalties deal is intended for the country to gain maximum value from its mineral resources by monetizing its mineral income in accordance with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act of 2018 (Act 978).