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Ghana Oil Witchunting Threatens Production Delays

Dr. Kwesi Mensah Wilson

It is usually not my style to jump into the fray when others are squabbling. Given my interest into this matter, I have invested the time to look deeply into the circumstances surrounding the process using an extensive network including experts in the industry, and I can comfortably state that this deal involve NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST as is being suggested. The two partners of the EO Group were purely private citizens as at the time of the deal’s execution. This is in fact one the most transparently executed investment agreements in Ghana that the experts agree went through GNPC Board, Ministry of Energy, Cabinet, and finally unanimously approved by a Parliament that included a substantial NDC representation.

To be honest, I find it interesting that the EO Group, which from my investigation, made some of the most unthinkable sacrifices to bring about an otherwise buried national asset, would be subjected to such harassment. These gentlemen should be heroes, and when I am blessed with the opportunity to meet them, I will personally thank them. Ironically, though, the very people accusing others of causing financial loss to the state, are the very ones guilty of the vice.

If Ghanaians knew that to date, an amount of over $750,000, a good portion of which has been doled out to political protégés, has been wasted on a wild goose chase, they would be up in arms. I know this because a confidant of one Duke Amaniampong has inadvertently revealed some of what is going on.

Lawyer Amaniampong practices law out of his condo in North Beach Malt House, located at 411 Francisco Street, Apt 308 in San Francisco, California. His struggling practice has yet to enable him to meet his school loan obligations since registering his practice back in 1996. Thus, when an offer by Tsatsu Tsikata was presented to him to help dig what he could find on the EO group, he could hardly contain himself.

Seven months ago, Amaniampong was offered $25,000 a month to investigate the EO Group. How a two bit lawyer can find information on two Ghanaian residents of United States that extensive investigation by the United States Justice Department could not unearth will remain a mystery. But from his standpoint, as he confided in a friend, the longer the investigation proceeds, the more money he makes. The offer also comes with frequent visits back to Ghana on business class flights and VIP treatment, a status, he had, until then never been accustomed to. Amaniampong’s confidant reveals he is ready to “milk this investigation” to wean himself out of debt.

What makes Amaniampong’s forays into the EO investigation questionable is that officials at Ghana’s Justice Department have privately conceded that their year-long investigations are yet to uncover any smoking gun.

Ordinarily, this impasse could be waived off as normal political vendetta. But this particular vendetta is threatening Ghana’s revenue potential. After the oil discovery, the big names began flocking in as expected. Today, due to this unnecessary bickering and the NDC’s obsession to connect the EO Group to former president Kufuor at all cost, BP is on record as having walked away, taking with its vital upstream technology. Privately, ExxonMobil is pondering taking its case to international arbitration, a move that is certain to delay oil production for at least another year if not more.

This is where I got interested in this. Although the oil discovery is upstream, the strain that production would place on the Western Region cannot be over-emphasized. Already prostitution and other vices that our part of the country was not accustomed to are now very prevalent. But we know that once oil production begins, the economic activities would be rewarding enough to nullify what strain these new vices put on our area. We are, therefore not going to sit around and allow someone’s personal vendetta to delay prosperity in our area.

I call on the government to act with haste to ensure that it meets its target of oil production in the fourth quarter of this year. If there is a delay, we would hold this government accountable for personalizing what should be a national priority.

Duke Amaniampong is wasting time and resources for his personal gain. He categorizes his law practice as 25% Business, 25% Employment/Labor, 25% Family, and 25% Intellectual Property. If this is the best law firm that GNPC could find to investigate the EO Group at $25,000 a month, someone has been drinking something on the job. Of course, it helps that he is a Tsikata protégé.

What is so bizarre about this investigation is that whereas the folks in EO group did what most hard working Ghanaians abroad aspire to do, that is to be able to bring home opportunities to improve the lives of their families and the nation as a whole, Mr. Tsikata’s and his friend Mr. Amaniampong have nothing to offer than to profit from others hard work by way of vindictiveness. You would have expected more from supposedly well educated men who have lived in the capitalist world and understand the concept of risk-reward as the very basis for economic development. For Mr. Amaniampong to allow himself to be dragged into this national shame by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata who could be excused by the fact that apart from being able to complete his formal education has never been able to accomplish anything in life, except for riding on the backs of politicians and causing losses to the state, he should be ashamed for bringing his career to disrepute and tarnishing the image of all learned Ghanaians.

I call on all Ghanaians to demand an immediate halt to this foolishness and rather encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship to flourish if we were to become a successful nation. We must understand that this is not about the two gentlemen who formed EO Group; rather, it is an attack on Ghanaian entrepreneurial spirit. And, this must not stand. Clearly, the socialist and corrupt ideas orchestrated by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata and his team failed in the eighties and the nineties and we do not want to go back to it. Never again.

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=174865

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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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