$3m GNPC Cash Missing


Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye$3m GNPC Cash Missing

12 September 2013

SALE of Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC’s) Drill Ship Discoverer 511 for payment of judgement debt is shrouded in mystery as documents relating to the transaction cannot be traced at any state institution.


Some information available to Justice Yaw Apau, the sole commissioner investigating payment of judgement debts to individuals and institutions, indicated that the drill ship was sold somewhere between 1999 and 2001 for $22.5million.

Out of the amount, $19.5 million was paid to Financial Services Group, Societe Generale, as judgement debt against the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) after the state-owned oil company was sued in a London court for breaching a contractual agreement signed during the tenure of Tsatsu Tsikata in the 1990s.

The remaining $3million was said to have been paid into an unknown escrow account.

However, not a single state institution including GNPC, Bank of Ghana (BoG), Ministry of Energy and Attorney-General’s Department could produce records relating to the transaction.

Even GNPC had earlier through its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjeye, told the sole commissioner the corporation had not been involved in the sale of its own drill ship, raising more questions than answers.

Lamenting the conundrum, Sole Commissioner Justice Apau, who is investigating frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, yesterday said “it appears this whole drill ship transaction is shrouded in secrecy.”

BoG was yesterday subpoenaed by the sole commissioner to provide documents relating to the transaction because it involved foreign exchange transaction between GNPC and Societe Generale.

Nevertheless, a representative of the central bank, Paul Mensah-Ashun, could not be of any help to Justice Apau’s commission as he told the sole commissioner the BoG did not have any records on the transaction.

“My lord, we have queried our database extensively and there is nothing that shows that some payments were made to Societe General in respect of the sale of the GNPC’s ship,” Mr. Mensah-Ashun, Chief Manager at BoG’s banking department told the sole commissioner.

Previous Testimonies

GNPC Chief Executive, Nana Asafu-Adjeye, had earlier told the Sole Commissioner that his outfit could not furnish the commissioner with documents relating to the $19.5 million judgement debt payment to Societe Generale, because all the files on it had been presented to the Attorney-General.

Strangely, the Attorney-General/Solicitor General, who had also been subpoenaed by Sole Commissioner over the same issue, could not appear before the commission because they could not locate the files.

The Attorney-General’s Department has been given up to September 16, 2013 to locate the files.

GNPC Chief Executive, Attorney-General/Solicitor General and the Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy, Prof. Thomas Mba Akabzaa, were all subpoenaed by the sole commissioner to help clarify the issue.

However, just like other witnesses, Prof. Akabzaa could not be of any help to the commission because he indicated that until the subpoena, he did not know anything about the case.

According to counsel for the Sole Commissioner, Dometi Kofi Sokpor, various judgement debts of $47million, $20million, $12million and the $19.5million have been presented to the commission as judgement debts paid to Societe Generale and the commission needed the witnesses to help solve the mystery.

He said records available to the commission indicated that GNPC’s Drill Ship Discoverer 511 was sold to liquidate the judgement debt even though officials of the corporation indicated they were not involved in the sale of the ship.

Sole Commissioner’s Mandate

Justice Apau’s ‘Commission covered by C.I 79, is enquiring into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin matters’ such as payment of frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, totalling about $640 million.

The sole commissioner was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama, after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD) saga.

Notable among them were payments made to CP (€94 million) and the never-ending case of GH¢51.2million parted to the self-styled NDC financier, Alfred Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.

Even though some of the cases are pending in court, the Sole Commissioner has been tasked with the responsibility to investigate all judgement debt cases to unravel the circumstances that led to the payments.

By Awudu Mahama

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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