Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, has stated emphatically that he will not resign over the controversy surrounding the government’s transfer of $250 million of the total proceeds from the nation’s $1 billion Eurobond, into a private account.
According to the minister, he has done no wrong in relation to the matter; hence, his refusal to resign as being demanded by former second Deputy Governor at the Bank of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, speaking with students at the Accra Polytechnic last week suggested that the government had diverted the amount into a private bank account at the United Bank for Africa.
He alleged that the government intended using the money to campaign ahead of the November 7 polls.
In spite of explanations given by the Finance Minister that “the US$250 million seed money to the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) lodged by the Board with a commercial bank, is safe and has already started bearing interest to the idle Fund”, Dr Bawumia called for his resignation.
He claimed that Mr Terkper had violated the laws of the land, hence, had to resign.
He quoted Section 53 of the Bank of Ghana Act: “The bank shall hold all foreign exchange of the state and be responsible to parliament in the performance of its function in relation to the foreign exchange”.
“What the Minister has done violates the Bank of Ghana Act and I would ask quite humbly that this transaction be reversed, that there should be a parliamentary inquiry into how this happened, and the Minister should reconsider his position. His position is not tenable, if you are the one supposed to enforce the law and you are violating the laws you should resign. He is a very good friend of mine, I like him a lot, he is a nice person and all of that but I think there is no Minister of Finance in the world, who can maintain his position when he has violated this law in the manner that has been done.”
He further argued that per the Act, there is no other place to save Ghana’s foreign exchange apart from the Bank of Ghana.
He described the movement of funds from the Bank of Ghana to the UBA as “essentially circumventing the Bank of Ghana’s role in managing Ghana’s foreign exchange”.
“That is what we have done. We’ve gone round the Bank of Ghana and given the money to UBA, which is now buying Treasury bills to pay for the deposits which we have given them. So the Minister in connivance with the Bank of Ghana has violated the Bank of Ghana Act,” he insisted.
When asked whether he would go to court if parliament failed to probe the matter, Dr. Bawumia said: “That is something down the road. We will consider all the advice that we have, but I think parliament has all the oversight responsibility on this matter and there is a clear violation of the Bank of Ghana Act and it should be dealt with.”
But Mr Terkper, also speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Tuesday May 10, said he had not breached any law hence would not resign.
“We are a country of laws, every Minister of Finance has legal advisors and I take every step after listening to my advisors. So, I believe that I did not break any law and I don’t have any reason to resign,” he added.