SML’s minerals contract an attempt to reintroduce Agyapa deal – Bright Simons

SML’s minerals contract an attempt to reintroduce Agyapa deal – Bright Simons

Bright Simons, the Honorary Vice President of IMANI Africa, has expressed concern about a new contract that was set to be awarded to the controversial Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Ltd (SML).

He revealed that SML had signed a contract to receive 0.75 percent of every mineral Ghana would sell if the Fourth Estate hadn’t exposed their operations.

In an interview with Bernard Avle on Citi TV’s Point of View, Mr Simons argued that the new contract was essentially an attempt to reintroduce the Agyapa deal.

“Until the Fourth Estate intervened with its exposé, and IMANI joined, this matter would not have been at the stage it is currently in. We were going to give them an additional contract, and that contract would have required that for every barrel of oil we produce in this country, we must give them 0.75 percent, that’s almost a dollar, every barrel,” he said.

According to him, “Every mineral such as gold, diamond, manganese, that every time we sell, we must give them 0.75 percent. The pattern of analysis is not about performance. Our argument is that this is Agyapa suit and tie, this is basically an attempt to reintroduce Agyapa [deal]. After Agyapa failed, that is for the upstream.”

The Agyapa royalties deal, which aimed to securitise Ghana’s mineral resources for development and cost $12 million, was abandoned due to strong opposition.

Mr Simons added that between 2016 and 2022, SML was the largest recipient of money in the energy sector.

“SML was the biggest recipient of money in the entire energy sector from the energy taxes in 2016 to 2022. Per the amount distribution…the amounts of money we paid to key agencies like Volta River Authority, Electricity Company of Ghana, out of taxes per year, compared to the about two hundred something per year they are receiving is lower,” he said.

On January 2, President Akufo-Addo commissioned KPMG to audit the contract between the GRA and SML. Following the submission of its report, KPMG disclosed that SML had been paid a total of GH¢1,061,054,778.00 from 2018 to the present.

Background

The Fourth Estate released an investigative piece in December 2023 indicting SML, the GRA, and the Ministry of Finance.

Fourth Estate accused GRA of awarding SML a 10-year contract that accrues SML $100 million annually. It also raised concerns about alleged underhand dealings.

SML, after the report was released, debunked claims of being awarded a 10-year contract duration, insisting that it has been given a 5-year contract instead.

Source: Citinewsroom.com

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