Why a Major Corruption Scandal Probably Won’t Upend Ghana’s Election

Why a Major Corruption Scandal Probably Won’t Upend Ghana’s Election
Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, after the funeral of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in Accra, Ghana, Sept. 13, 2018 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

President Nana Akufo-Addo’s bid for a second term in Ghana’s upcoming general election took a hit last month, when the country’s anti-corruption czar, Martin Amidu, announced his resignation, citing political interference and lack of support from the government for his work. The incident is a setback for Ghana’s anti-graft campaign, which has seen mixed progress under Akufo-Addo’s government. But while it is a significant development that is injecting some uncertainty ahead of next Monday’s polls, it is unlikely to definitively swing the election result in favor of the opposition candidate, former President John Mahama.

Amidu stepped down as special prosecutor after releasing a report that identified problems with a government plan to monetize future royalties from leases on gold mines. Under the plan, 76 percent of Ghana’s gold royalties would be channeled to a government-owned company incorporated in Jersey, one of the Channel Islands known as a major corporate tax haven. The company, Agyapa Royalty Ltd., was set up as a subsidiary of a national fund charged with the securitization of Ghana’s gold royalties. Forty-nine percent of Agyapa’s shares would be publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange, generating at least $500 million in projected revenue.

Government officials and members of the ruling party have defended the Agyapa scheme as a way to secure additional value from Ghana’s position as the world’s largest exporter of gold, while limiting its exposure to volatile shifts in global commodity prices. But civil society groups have criticized the use of a Jersey-based company due to the jurisdiction’s secretive financial regulations and its vulnerability to money laundering. Moreover, Amidu’s scathing report pointed out numerous breaches in procurement protocols related to the plan. In his resignation letter, Amidu accused Akufo-Addo of treating him like a “poodle,” downplaying the report’s conclusions and meddling with the process.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.