In this study, we draw upon insights from agency theory to examine the impact of managerial political ties on cost of debt and also to explore whether corporate governance mediates this impact. We hypothesize that political ties reduce financial reporting quality, disclosure of non-financial information and board independence, and are therefore associated with higher interest rates. We also hypothesize that the negative effect of political ties on the cost of debt will be stronger if firms borrow from privately-owned banks versus government-owned banks. Using data from Ghana, we find support for our direct and moderation hypotheses; political ties are associated with high interest rates and poor corporate governance. However, we do not find evidence of mediation. Altogether, the findings reveal the dark side of political connections and highlight the cost of political embeddedness in emerging credit markets.