ADB denies bribing Afenyo-Markin
The Agricultural Development Bank (adb) has described as false, the allegation that the bank paid bribes to two members of parliament who instituted a suit to restrain the Bank from making its public offer.
The two legislators, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the MP for Effutu and Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, were last year accused of using the suit to bait the bank to pay them huge sums of money, which many suggested was blackmail.
It was alleged the Bank paid out some GH₵250,000 to Mr Afenyo-Markin to get him to withdraw the suit against the adb to enable the bank commence its Initial Public Offering (IPO) to pave the way for the bank to enlist on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
But the Bank, in a communication to the solicitors of an anti-corruption advocacy group known as Forum for the Protection of Public Funds (FPPF), who have indicated their readiness to petition the Speaker of Parliament and institute a suit against the lawmakers on the allegation, said that those allegations were “spurious, disturbing and shocking”.
The communication by the bank , dated March 4, 2016 and signed by M.K. Amoakohene, General Counsel for the bank, was a response to an earlier communication dated February 28, 2016 issued by the solicitors for the FPPF, Dubik, Onny and Associates, asking the adb to furnish the forum with the exact figure of the pay-outs made to the legislators.
However, the Bank, in response, described the contents of the communication of solicitors of the FPPF as “not only disturbing and shocking” but appearing to be “a professionally tabulated pack of half-truths completely in sync with outright lies”.
“More shocking is the information on the payment USD 400,000 into the account of Mr Afenyo-Markin in South Africa and a further USD 500, 000 into a sister’s accounts in the United States by the Bank.”
“There is also a cedi component of GH₵250,000.00 allegedly paid to Mr Afenyo-Markin in an act of extortion. Spurious as these allegations are, we cannot accept the fact that the bank could misapply public funds in this reckless manner – a total of USD900,000 being paid to one single person because there was a threat of court action against the Bank’s IPO?
“These are calculated distractive acts intended to derail the IPO which has already seen enough upsets”, said the Bank in the communication.
The Bank said there was no way the court action could have thwarted issuance of its IPO and that it could not have under any circumstance apply that amount of money to get its public offer running through such an illegal means.
“There is no way the bank will employ that quantum of funds simply to get an IPO through by any such illegal means or that the process had been threatened by a court action and there was therefore the need to do something to get the process going.
“At any rate the court actions came by and the bank marshalled its legal brains and eventually dealt with the matter.
“Assuming without admitting that there was any such approach by Mr Afenyo-Markin, we wish to state categorically that no money from the bank has ever been paid or will ever be paid to anyone for this kind of cause”, it said.
“We wish to state that the Bank has not paid any monies to Mr Afenyo-Markin or anyone connected to him,” it concluded.
Mr Afenyo-Markin in 2015 instituted a suit on behalf of Dr Assibey-Yeboah, who had wanted the launch of the Adb’s IPO stopped until Parliamentary approved the share floatation.
But the adb went ahead to issue the IPO despite a pending court case on the matter.
However, the case was pulled out of court in June 29, 2015, days before the IPO was launched on July 3, 2015, prompting speculations Mr Afenyo-Markins had fleeced the bank of some monies.
The perception was fuelled also by the release of a voice recording of the legislator chatting with a close friend, in which he insinuated that he would do “legal gymnastics” by presenting a weak case in court against the IPO, to get “something” from a not very clear source.
Subsequently, Mr Afenyo Markin was in October 2015 invited by the Criminal Investigative Department of the Ghana Police Service to make a statement on the matter, after three petitioners asked the CID to arrest him over the allegation.