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Opinions of Thursday, 18 February 2016

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

How NPP MPs could expose corruption in GNPC's agreement with Vitol & ENI

The controversy surrounding the agreement between the Ghana National
Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and the Ghanaian subsidiaries of the
partially state-owned Italian energy company, ENI S.p.A., and Vitol,
for the Offshore Cape Three Points Integrated Oil and Gas Project, can
easily be brought to an end - if the opposition New Patriotic Party
(NPP) MPs criticising it, do some lateral thinking.

There are a number of steps that they can take, to help them expose
any corruption that might have enabled ENI and Vitol to secure the
agreement with the GNPC, which they and many other well-meaning
Ghanaians believe to be tainted - if indeed such corruption did
actually occur.

To begin with, since there is a Global Organisation of
Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), why don't the NPP MPs use
that forum to invite the head of Italy's National Anti-Corruption
Agency, Rafaele Cantone, to Ghana, to meet with them as soon as
practicable, to discuss that controversial agreement?

And since the Italian state has a 30.303% golden share in Eni S.p.A.,
why don't the NPP MPs also write directly to Italy's President, Sergio
Mattarella, and point out to him, their suspicions that the agreement
was secured through corruption - and provide him with a copy of the
agreement, if possible?

If they also copy the letter to Ezio Mauro, the editor of the
centre-left newspaper, La Republica, and give him a copy of the
ENI-Vitol GNPC agreement, too, he will assign some of his best
investigative reporters to establish the veracity or otherwise, of
allegations that corruption may have secured for ENI and Vitol, an
agreement detrimental to Ghana.

Above all, they must point out to all the people mentioned above, the
fact that Enrico Mattei, who was the chairperson of ENI, who signed
the agreement that made it possible for the Tema oil refinery to be
built, and officially opened in 1963, by President Nkrumah, negotiated
a win-win deal for that project - which utilised ENI's "Mattei
formula."

They can then make the point that in light of that past record of
ethical conduct on the part of Enrico Mattei, patriotic Ghanaians
insist that the present chairperson of ENI, Emma Marcegaglia, and its
CEO, Claudio Descalzi, ought to ensure that a new win-win agreement is
signed, to replace the present agreement between EBI-Vitol and the
GNPC - if it is proven that it was actually secured through
corruption.

If the NPP MPs take all the steps mentioned above, it might possibly
enable them to expose any acts of corruption, which secured for ENI
and Vitol, an agreement that in their view isn't in Ghana's interest -
and demand that the Italian Establishment should therefor force ENI
to renegotiate a win-win agreement that does not disadvantage any of
the Offshore Cape Three Points Integrated Oil and Gas project
partners.

By copying the editor of the La Republica newspaper, they will also
ensure that their demand is taken seriously by the chairperson and CEO
of ENI. And by copying the head of Italy's main anti-corruption
investigative body, they will ensure that any acts of corruption
associated with the agreement, which took place prior to its being
signed, can, and will be investigated, and exposed.

Good luck to them. Naturally, if the NPP MPs win their fight to get a
better agreement for the GNPC, all of Ghana wins too.