The office of the Special Prosecutor has responded to a letter by the Strategic Energy Forum over what it described as corruption being perpetrated at the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) against the State by its CEO, Dr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong.
The Special Prosecutor in a letter signed by its Deputy Prosecutor, Cynthia Lamptey, said “I acknowledge receipt of your letter on the above petition dated February 28, 2019. The office will revert to you in due course to enable you know the way forward as far as the issues raised in the petition are concerned.”
The Forum in a Petition dated February 26, 2019 alleged violations were being carried out at the company by its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong.
Stating the areas of concern to them as a group, the Forum pointed out that there had been breaches of Petroleum Exploration and Production Act 2016 Act 919 by the CEO.
According to the Forum, the CEO Dr. K. K. Sarpong in the performance of his duty gave up the interest of EXPLORCO Ghana Limited without seeking approval from the Minister of Energy, which the Forum described as a clear case of breach of the law.
They intimated that in 2015, Explorco acquired interest in the DWT/CTP block at a time when HES Corporation which was then operating DWT/CTP oil block was offloading part of its stake in the block.
According to them, the then Minister for Energy, Hon. Kofi Buah obtained cabinet approval which was submitted to Parliament for GNPC’s subsidiary Exporco Ghana Limited to purchase 10% stake in the DWT/CTP block.
“Hon Kofi Buah received the said parliamentary approval and GNPC was allocated $47m for the purchase. Upon assumption of office of the NPP government, AKER Energy acquired majority stake in the Hess operated block and AKER Energy requested to take over the 10% EXPLORCO Ghana Limited stake in the block,” they noted.
The Forum observed that Dr K.K. Sarpong acting as the GNPC boss granted the request without approval from the Minister of Energy.
The approval by the CEO, according to the Forum was against the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act.
Backing their position with some facts, the Forum averred that Act 919 Clause 15 states that “A contractor or sub-contractor shall not transfer a share of that contractor’s sub-contractor’s incorporated company in the Republic to a third party or affiliate without the written approval of a) the Minister, in case of a contractor, or b( the commission, in the case of a sub-contractor, if the effect of the transfer would be to c) give the third party or affiliate to take over the interest of a shareholder who owns five per cent or more of the shares of the company.”
The Forum also cited conflict of interest as one of the things that had the potential of crippling GNPC. According to the group, Dr K. K. Sarpong who is the former Chairman of the Global Haulage Group and its subsidiary the Royal Bank, ordered an urgent transfer of $7.2 million to Global Haulage for the pourchase of a 6-block residential apartment in Takoradi.
GNPC they said, has started constructing of a facility at the Beach road, Takoradi to accommodate its staff.
This project according to the Forum is about 60% completed.
“The question is, in the interest of prudent and efficient utilization of our oil funds, why didn’t GNPC apply its funds to complete the said project rather than utilizing so much funds for a totally new housing. Instructively, this was at a time the Corporation was on Christmas break with just skeletal staff on duty. Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong called the General Manager, Administration, Miss Matilda Ohene to put pressure on the Finance and Audit Department of GNPC to make that “urgent” transfer”.
Strategic Energy Forum said the conduct of Dr. K.K. Sarpong puts him in a conflict of interest position which is abhorred by Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution.
The Forum also indicated that Dr Sarpongs decision to drive the country’s little oil revenue for the decommissioning of the Saltpond Offshore Production Platform leaves much to be desired.
They said the GNPC Boss is still insisting that the government and GNPC cough out about $60 million for the decommissioning project.
“Surprisingly GNPC has not explored the option of handling the Saltpond oil block to an international oil exploration company that will further explore the Saltpond field, hence the decommissioning of the project is at a Zero cost to GNPC and the government.
The Forum urged the office of the Special Prosecutor to look into all the claims and ensure that the right things are done at GNPC”, the forum stated.
The office of the Special Prosecutor in receipt of the said petition said it will notify the Forum on any arrangement as to investigating the matter and prosecute if evidences proved positive to their claims.