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K.T Hammond To Appear Before Judgment Debt Commission


K.T Hammond To Appear Before Judgment Debt Commission

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Former Deputy Energy Minister, K.T. Hammond, is to be summoned before the Judgment Debt Commission for giving conflicting accounts in various radio interviews as to how an oil shipping drill of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was sold in 2001.

The ship was sold for $24 million, but the whereabouts of $3.5 million balance taken from an escrow account to be deposited in government of Ghana's coffers still remains a mystery.

Mr K.T. Hammond had said apart from paying $19.5 million dollars of the $24m to Societe Generale in judgment debt, $3.5 million was paid to the Finance Ministry, and $1 million was used in settling other debts including fees for government's counsel.

But officials of the Energy Ministry and GNPC previously told the Judgment Debt Commission they cannot confirm the claim that $3.5m was paid to the Finance Ministry because there was no official documentation covering the transaction.

The Commissioner Justice Yaw Appau on Monday noted that K. T. Hammond’s role in the sale of the oil shipping drill was confusing.

Justice Yaw Appau commented: "September 24, 2001 was when new (GNPC) board was appointed, so when it was sold there was no board. So we cannot tell specifically who took the decision to sell, if there were no board in place then it could not have been the board.

"....the former deputy minister [K.T. Hammond] said on radio that he was directed by president [Kufuor] to go and sell the ship and defray the cost...in another vein he said he was given the power of attorney to sell by the GNPC. If there was no board then who granted the power of attorney to sell?"

Lawyer for the Commission, Dometi Sokpor told Joy News that K. T. Hammond would soon be summoned to answer questions over the transaction.

"Everybody whose presence is needed here to clarify issues that are bothering our mind, we will invite that person...but for now it is KT Hammond who is talking so he would be invited first."

Though it is not clear when the former deputy minister would appear before the commission, Mr Sokpor affirmed Mr Hammond would "definitely" come before them.

But K.T Hammond has again told Joy News he doesn't recollect saying that President Kufuor gave him the power of attorney. The power was rather given to him by the then Acting Managing Director of GNPC, Dr A. Ofori Acquah, he said.

President Kufuor only directed the Energy Ministry to reshape the highly indebted GNPC, he clarified.

He said he has been informed that in such transactions, monies paid to the Finance Ministry would be forwarded to the Controller and Accountant General's Department, and was sure the whereabouts of the $3.5 million was traceable.

He also declared his readiness to assist the Commission to demystify the mystery.

His boss and former Energy Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah earlier submitted a letter to the Judgment Debt Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau, expressing his willingness to appear before him to explain the issues.

He told Joy News' Joseph Oppong Gakpo that "two issues have come up; how was the ship sold and how do you account for the money we got out of the sale? What actually happened to the $24 million? In the letter that I have given to him, I have tried to provide answers to some of these things."

He is, however, yet to submit the documentation covering the actual transaction, Joy News gathered; but is ready to appear when needed.

Communication Consultant at the Energy Ministry, Edward Bawa, told Joy News they have finally chanced on a letter from one Kweku Owusu who was the advisor to the then minister asking the ministry to pay Aquatic Investments for its involvement in the transaction gave them a clue to the whole deal.

He said after searching for documents on the transaction, they turned to the handing over notes of Mr Kan-Dapaah to his successor, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, but the transaction was "never mentioned".

Though document on the sale and purchase agreement was not available, he suspected that the minister managed the transaction without necessarily following the bureaucracy in the civil service.

Meanwhile, officials of the GNPC have retracted their earlier claim when they appeared before the commission that they were unaware of the transactions.

Chief Executive of GNPC, Nana Asafu-Adjaye, conceded that a letter about the transaction sent to the GNPC by then Minister Kan-Dapaah informed them about the amount and how it was used.

Source: myjoyonline



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