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$24m GNPC drillship palaver: Gov’t’s $3.5m traced to New York

jubilee partnersOn-going efforts to track the balance of $3.5m paid out of the $24m purchase price of GNPC’s Drillship, Discoverer 511, to the Government of Ghana (GoG) have began to yield significant results.

Credible information available to The New Crusading Guide, by the courtesy of highly-placed sources at the Ghana International Bank (GIB) in the United Kingdom (UK), indicates the latter was on July 26, 2001, instructed by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to forward/transfer a Banker’s Draft of the value of $3.5m to the Government of Ghana (GoG) Accounts at the Chase Manhattan Bank, New York.

Pleading anonymity, the sources expressed surprise that the BoG officials in Accra, Ghana, had appeared before the Sole Commissioner on Judgement Debts, to testify to the effect that BoG had no records on the “whereabouts” of the $3.5m Banker’s Draft which stood in the name of the Government of Ghana (GoG), apparently without reference to previous (July 2001) correspondence between the BoG and GIB, formerly known as Ghana Commercial Bank(GCB), London, United Kingdom(UK).

“As far as our records show, both the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning (MoFEP) and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) were instrumental in the relaying of the instructions to the Ghana International Bank (GIB) to forward the $3.5m Banker’s Draft to the New York-based Chase Manhattan Bank to be credited to the accounts of the Government of Ghana(GoG) which was accordingly and dutifully executed”, the sources stated.

The sources advised that the Sole Commissioner requests the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning (MoFEP) and the Bank of Ghana ( BoG) to conduct further due diligence into their respective records relative to their instructions to the Ghana International Bank(GIB) in connection with the transfer of the $3.5m Banker’s Draft to the accounts of the Government of Ghana (GoG) at the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York.

It would be recalled that Mr. K. T. Hammond, a Deputy Minister of Energy in the Kufuor Administration at the time of the sale of the Discoverer 511, recently told Joy FM that he was mandated by the Government to negotiate a settlement with the French Bank, Societe Generale in the latter’s dispute with the GNPC over a hedging transaction that had gone sour and had become a subject of litigation in a London Court.

“I, K.T. Hammond came to this country (Ghana) with a cheque for $3.5 million payable to the Government of Ghana which was later presented to the Ministry of Finance to be paid into Government’s Consolidated Fund as part of proceeds because about close to one million dollars had to be used to settle the other indebtedness of this same GNPC”, he sakd.

Mr. Hammond also disclosed that he had the Power of Attorney from the Management of the GNPC with the official blessing of the Attorney-General in accordance with the laws of the Land, to represent the GNPC and the Government of Ghana (GoG) in the negotiations with Societe Generale which culminated in an amicable settlement of $19.5m out of the purchase price of $24m to the French Bank which had sued the GNPC for the recovery of $47m. Incidentally, Societe Generale in pursuance of its claim had successfully sought and obtained orders from the London Court to arrest and detain the GNPC Drillship, D511, which was then on duty in the waters off Oman. The Drillship had been used as collateral for credit facility GNPC had obtained from Societe Generale.

Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah, the substantive Minister for Energy at the time, recently in a formal communication to the Sole Commissioner, dated 13th September, 2013, corroborated the disclosures made by Mr. K.T. Hammond to the effect that “following extensive negotiations with SG, GoG managed to reach an agreement with SG to pay it Nineteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars(US$19,500,000), thereby saving GoG Twenty Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars(US$27,500,000.00)”.

Mr. Kan Dapaah indicated to the Sole Commissioner that “GoG and SG then reached an agreement to sell the vessel and pay the proceeds into an escrow account to be operated by lawyers of both SG and GoG and a representative of SG and Hon. K.T. Hammond as representative of GoG. The sale itself was conducted jointly by the solicitors of SG and GoG with the active involvement of GNPC”.

“The vessel pursuant to the aforementioned understanding between GoG and SG was sold for Twenty Four Million United States Dollars (US$24,000,000) out of which sum SG was paid its entitlement of Nineteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars(US$19,500,000). The UK lawyers who worked on the transaction were paid One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$100,000.00) for their services. A cheque of three million five hundred thousand United States Dollars [US$3,500,000] in the name of Government of Ghana was also paid to the Ministry of Finance”, Kan Dapaah clarified.

He disclosed that GNPC subsequently made representations to the Ministry of Energy that it owed certain individuals and institutions who had done work and/or provided services to the vessel and desired that the remaining sum of US$900,000 would be used to pay off some of the debts owed those individuals and companies.

“The Ministry of Energy in its response asked GNPC to submit claims regarding those individuals and companies for vetting; following which all claims that were passed as genuine were forwarded to the signatories of the escrow account for payment”, underscored Kan Dapaah.

A letter titled “GNPC Drillship: Banking Details of Creditors” dated 27th July, 2001, signed by Dr. A. Ofori-Quaah, then Acting Chief Executive of GNPC, and addressed to the Ministry of Energy ( Attn: Hon. K.T. Hammond, Deputy Minister), stated that “Please find attached the list of creditors of drillship 511 and their Bank Details for your necessary action…”.

Source: Joy Business

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Reporting Oil and Gas project was launched on 4th June 2009atTakoradi, Western Region, Ghana by Penplusbytes (PPB – www.penplusbytes.org) with the vision of providing a one stop online information and knowledge about Ghana’s oil and gas sector
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