Details are emerging about how the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Aker Energy, ahead of the submission of the US$1.65 billion loan to Parliament for approval, had put in place an elaborate plan that sought to compromise Members of Parliament (MP) and leaders of Civil Society Organizations to be silent on the transaction.
The buyer; GNPC and seller; Aker Energy, were moving about with money in bags, asking leaders of the CSOs to support the deal US$1.65 ahead of Parliament deliberating on the deal, has left a sour taste in the mouths of many at least those with conscience.
In the case of the MPs, The Herald has on record the names of some key Parliamentarians on the side of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) desperately pushing support for the transaction, by asking some CSOs to open their doors to officials of GNPC and Aker Energy.
The Herald is also aware of a meeting in Tamale between some Parliamentarians and officials of GNPC to consider the transaction, and details of that meeting available to this newspaper begs the question as to whether Ghanaian MPs are out to serve the interest of those who elected them, to demand accountability and transparency in government’s decisions.
In the case of the CSOs, some of them opened their doors, and The Herald has the names of those who collected between GHc10, 000 and GHc30, 000, by agents of the Aker Energy and GNPC in the company of a journalist, asking them to support the US$1.65 billion deal which experts insist is not in the interest of the country.
The deal has become controversial with many experts like Ben Boakye of African Center for Energy Policy and Bright Simons of the IMANI Ghana, raising arguments against Ghana through GNPC forking out over US$1 billion dollars to invest in unverified and unquantified oil blocks.
Some experts are of the view that instead of dishing the US$1.65 billion to AKER Energy and AGM, the government should rather adopt a wait and see attitude for the blocks to revert to it automatically for failure on the part of the two companies to perform, since they have no money to get the specialized technology to invest in getting crude oil from the blooks.
Kadijah Amoah as CEO of Aker Energy Ghana Limited and the General Manager, Commercial at GNPC, Joseph Dadzie, have been mentioned to The Herald by the CSOs, as those who were busy pushing the envelopes for and on behalf of the buyers and sellers of the two oil blocks.
One of the leaders of a CSO, has gone on record and mentioned that he was given an envelope by Kadijah Amoah and Joseph Dadzie, but that he has not spent the money yet.
He told The Herald, he only countered it and put it back in the envelope and insisted he was not the only CSO leader, who was met and perhaps given money by the officials of Aker Energy and GNPC who are acting in partnership.
Another leader of another CSO told The Herald that he was met at a car park around Airport Residential Area and asked to support the transaction, when it is put before Parliament by the government through the Minister of Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.
He told The Herald that when the meeting was over between him, Kadijah Amoah and Joseph Dadzie, he was given money. He described it as “something small”.
It has been suggested that Dr. Steve Manteaw, has been compromised by those leading the deal and further accused of leaking details of a discussion by the CSOs, hence declaring his spirited support for the transaction against a collective agreement to demand further and better particulars from the promoters, GNPC, Aker Energy and AGM.
AGM, has people connected to President Akufo-Addo as owners with various percentages.
Aker Energy’s Country manager, Kadijah Amoah, used to work in the office of Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
The transaction has been described as worse than Agyapa Royalties which was to get an offshore private company to collect the country’s mineral royalties, and advance loans to Ghana if need be instead the current arrangement where the monies come directly to state coffers.
It has also been described as worse than the botched PDS transaction cooked by the Akufo-Addo government which handed the assets of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to cronies of the government to manage for profit motive purposes.
Government had sought parliamentary approval to borrow as much as $1.65 billion to accelerate oil and gas exploration by acquiring and developing assets.
The investment push comes after Exxon Mobil Corp. pulled out of an offshore prospect in the West African country in May, dealing a blow to its burgeoning oil and gas sector. There are also rising concerns that the push for lower-carbon energy may reduce the value of Ghana’s hydrocarbon resources over time.
The nation estimates it will need as much as $1.3 billion to buy a 37% stake in the Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points asset operated by Aker Energy AS and 70% stake of the South Deep Water Tano field operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Ltd.
But the Alliance of civil society organisations working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, has warned Ghana will be shortchanged if the government goes ahead to fork out $1.65 billion for shares in the two oil blocks.
More to come