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Row over $200m equity shares in Jubilee Oilfields GOV`T SWOOPS ON KOSMOS ENERGY … As Betty Mould Iddrisu readi es for prosecution

An investigation into allegations of corruption against the Texas-based oil and gas exploration company, Kosmos Energy, by the government of Ghana, has yielded enough evidence to prosecute the group.

According to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Betty Mould- Iddrisu, who spoke to The Chronicle on the issue, the government had gathered enough criminal evidence against the group, and would soon press charges against them.

She however declined to give the exact charges to be brought against the group, but the Financial Times quoted an official at the Attorney-General’s office as saying the charges could include “causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, and making false declarations to public agencies.”

The Attorney-General had noted earlier that the government began conducting intensive investigations into the activities of Kosmos and its partner, EO Group, since May last year, indicating that the case transcends the country’s criminal code.

"This is a case of criminal activities which has extended beyond Ghana’s criminal code," she told Citi Fm, a local radio station in an interview last Friday.

She mentioned that her outfit had interviewed a number of officials from the previous government to current government officials, and some private entities on the case, to gather enough evidence before prosecution.

She emphasised that the government would take a firm decision on the case, after a thorough investigation, and the guilty would be prosecuted.

The Attorney-General last week confirmed reports of ongoing investigations by the state and the United States authorities into corruption allegations involving Kosmos Energy and the local partner that helped it secure control of an oil block in the Jubilee Fields, with the US said to be particularly interested in probing the relationship between EO and Kosmos.

The EO is widely suspected to have used its access to top officials in the former government to gain a hold on the country’s most promising offshore oil block, and win more favourable terms, both for itself, and Kosmos. The directors of EO have since denied any wrongdoing, insisting that they had played an important role in opening Ghana’s oil industry, and had done so lawfully, and without using improper influence.

The EO was set up by a Houston-based businessman, George Owusu, who was Kosmos’s representative in Accra, and Kwame Bawuah Edusei, a doctor and supporter of Mr. Kufuor, who was later appointed Ghana Ambassador to Washington. The group has a 3.5 per cent stake in the offshore oil block, where Kosmos first found commercial quantities of oil in 2007. The EO, whose stake could be worth more than $200 million, initiated the deal which brought Kosmos into Ghana three years earlier.

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has also, in recent times, indicated its preparedness to acquire Kosmos’s stake in the Jubilee Oilfields, thus frustrating attempts by Kosmos to sell its stake to ExxonMobil – a deal which is valued at $4 billion.

Industry players say the case brought up against Kosmos risks complicating its initial efforts to sell its stake in the Jubilee Oilfield to ExxonMobil.

http://www.ghanaian-chronicle.com/

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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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