Feature Article of Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Columnist: Serebuor, Kwame
If US And Ghana Are In A Diplomatic Row?
Parliament of Ghana
The energy Minister and Atto Ahwoi denied US visa.
"Is the GNPC was “Anti- American”
"Does it really mean any American who wants to do business with us Ghana must come here to Ghana?”
If there should really be a growing "see saw" diplomat anxiety between some top ranks of the Ghana government towards the US Embassy in Accra, resulting in suspicion that the US government is consciously targeting some key government officials for standing in the way of American interest in Ghana, why then is the flag of the US of America hanging so friendly at the Parliament of Ghana?.
According to some news papers the controversy scale has gone to such a level that, the row has reached almost showdown levels, with some key government officials threatening to boycott travels to the US.
It seems there are some serious "dark cases" within the corridors of the Ministry of Energy and GNPC that their insistence of exercising their right of the purchase of the oil interest of Kosmos Energy as against the company’s attempt to sell its oil interest to a fellow American company -Exxon Mobil, possibly through the backdoor appears to have angered the US Embassy who are allegedly employing embarrassments of diplomatic retaliatory targets at some key personalities in the energy sector.
The Minister of Energy, Dr. Oteng Adjei, who was to lead a government delegation to the USA to attend a meeting with Blackstone and Warburg Pincus the financiers of Kosmos Energy was denied visa.
The Energy Minister had applied for the visa with his diplomatic passport, but the US embassy’s acted negative, thus refusing Oteng Adjei a Visa. This demanded the involvement of OSU Castle, the seat of Ghana’s Presidency, and that it took the personal intervention of the Chief of Staff of Henry Martey Newman to secure a travelling visa for the Minister.
Mr. Atto Ahwoi, Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), who had been to the USA on several occasions, was also refused a visa by the US embassy. When he was asked the reason for the refusal, he was given a letter signed by an unnamed consular officer whom among other things stated that:
“You have been temporally refused a visa under INA Section 221G, as you lack certain documents or information needed to reach a decision in your case. For further instructions please refer to the Checked Box below.”
The checked box read “We need to verify certain documents you have given us or statements you have made. We will contact you at the telephone numbers you provided us as soon as investigations are completed. There is nothing else you need to do at this stage”
When Ahwoi was asked whether he shared sentiments that his refusal had anything to with his position on the Kosmos-Energy deal, he said “that could be the only reason, because I have been to the US for 20 times and i schooled at the Harvard University. Besides at my age, I will not be migrating to the US, why then the sudden refusal."
Early this year, a top officer of GNPC working within the Human Resource Department was also refused travelling visa whilst attempting to travel to US on official assignment. The official is reported to have said that a consular officer at the US embassy told him that GNPC was “Anti- American”
KWAME SEREBUOR: Atwima - K'dua