Photo: Neil Pendock, via his Timeslive blog
A British politician, Andrew Mitchell, who is the international development secretary, was busted this weekend for helping a hedge fund manager, Anthony Ward (aka “Chocfinger“), get a trade ban lifted in Ghana.Ghana banned Ward’s hedge fund, Armanjaro, from trading there after a journalist caught one of its contractors agreeing to smuggle cocoa (across the border to Ivory Coast where prices were higher) on camera, says the Financial Times.
Ward then donated £40,000 to Mitchell, and later asked him to help get the ban lifted.
Mitchell did; he asked Britain’s high commissioner in Ghana to do something about the ban on Armanjaro with “urgent attention.” Then, the high commissioner asked Ghana’s VP to do something about it.
Now, a watchdog has been notified, and Mitchell could potenially be found to have committed uncouth “lobbying” in exchange for a donation.
Mitchell, who’s now being called “Minister Chocfinger,” says he did no such thing, however some evidence may suggest otherwise.
Investigators discovered documents that suggest the politician’s office wavered when deciding whether or no to help Ward.
“Is this… something we should lobby on? Or should the UK company realise they have broken the rules and have to pay the price?”
Annoyingly, the most important question here hasn’t been answered. Was the ban lifted, or not?
Hopefully so; it would really be unfortunate to be nicknamed Minister “Chocfinger” for nothing.