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Parliament to wade into GNPC ex gratia payment

Alex MouldThe Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy has invited the management of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to appear before it today to explain the circumstances leading to the payment of ex gratia to four former employees of the corporation.

The four and the positions at which they exited the GNPC are a former Chief Executive, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata; a former acting Chief Executive, Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye; a former Field Evaluation and Development Manager, Mr Benjamin Dagadu, and a former Public Affairs Manager, Ms Esther Cobbah.

The Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, told the Daily Graphic in Parliament Tuesday that the committee wrote to invite the management of the GNPC to appear before it yesterday but the official communication did not reach the management in time, for which reason it could not respond appropriately.

He said the committee had, therefore, rescheduled the appointment for today for the management to appear before it and offer the necessary explanations.

Esther Cobbah denies

Meanwhile, Ms Cobbah has described as false an allegation by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa, Mr K.T. Hammond,  that some payment had been made to her by the GNPC.

“The truth is that as of now no payment has been made to me by the GNPC, although I am owed significant amounts for work done and from my contribution to the Provident Fund while I was in the employment of the corporation,” she said.

Ms Cobbah’s reaction followed a publication in the November 30, 2015 edition of the Daily Graphic in which Mr Hammond was reported to have called on the government to probe the alleged payment of GH¢600,000 to her.

Background

Last Friday, Mr Hammond called on the government to probe the alleged payment of GH¢1 million to Mr Tsikata as compensation for work done during his tenure as head of the organisation.

He said Mr Asafu-Adjaye and Ms Cobbah received almost GH¢1 million and about GH¢600,000, respectively.

Money for specific projects

Addressing representatives of some media houses in Parliament, Mr Hammond said the various sums paid to the individuals were taken out of money approved by Parliament for the GNPC to use for some specific projects.

He explained that out of the $342 million which accrued to Ghana from the sale of crude oil this year, $98.3 million was set aside for the GNPC to use for some specified projects.

Approval

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of the GNPC has explained that it approved the payment of ex gratia to the four former employees of the corporation.

A press statement by the Corporate Affairs Department of the GNPC issued on Monday said the four served the corporation for periods ranging between 12 and 21 years.

“They were all removed from office in 2000 and 2001 under circumstances that did not allow for the payment of their respective accumulated separation entitlements”, it added.

It said the board of directors, after an in-depth review of the situation, concluded that the payment of end-of-service benefits to those management persons who had made invaluable contributions to the development of the corporation was a valid obligation and the right thing to do.

It said the corporation computed the amounts to be paid to each of the affected senior managers on the same basis as what had been used with respect to all staff who were made redundant or separated from the organisation.

Debunking the allegation by Mr Hammond, Ms Cobbah said she worked in various capacities for the GNPC from 1989 when she set up the Public Affairs Department of the corporation, including being the Public Affairs Manager.

She said in 1991, she was sent on secondment to the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project as its External Affairs Manager, where she set up the External Affairs Department of the project with staff from four countries, namely, Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana.

“I was in that role when, in May 2001, I went with the project manager, an employee of Chevron, to a meeting in the office of the then Minister of Energy of Ghana. Quite unexpectedly, the minister announced that the government was removing me from the project,” she recounted.

She said even though her appointment as External Affairs Manager of the WAGP project was not a government appointment over which the minister had authority, she decided not to contest the issue, “having regard to the circumstances of the day”.

Soon after that notification by the minister, she said, she was again notified by the corporation that her services in the corporation were no longer needed.

Entitlements not paid

“To this day, my entitlements, including my end-of-service benefits, my provident fund entitlements, as well as arrears of remuneration for my period of secondment to the WAGP project, have not been paid,” she explained.

She said she had, however, been given assurances since 2009 that the GNPC would meet its obligations, saying, “Most recently, the Chief Executive of the GNPC informed me that the board had resolved to settle those matters and the corporation would be paying me what I am entitled to. No payment has been made to date.”

“The statements by Mr K.T. Hammond appear to be attempts to deny me my due after service that I have rendered to the corporation. I thank God that no weapon fashioned against me by the making of such unjustified attacks will prosper. I also thank God that He has taken me through various circumstances with His guiding hand,” Ms Cobbah said.

Source: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/54251-parliament-to-wade-into-gnpc-ex-gratia-payment.html#sthash.rrigeOJq.dpuf

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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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