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General News of Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

No wrongdoing in acquisition of $7.5m residential apartments – GNPC

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), has clarified that its residential apartments acquired in Takoradi were done in a transparent manner devoid of any conflict of interest.

Citi News on Tuesday sighted some internal GNPC memos signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. K.K. Sarpong, authorizing the transfer of $7.5 million  to a company he once worked for in 2017, Global Haulage Company Limited for the residential facilities.

This has raised concerns of conflict of interest, given that Dr. K.K Sarpong once served as Chief Executive of Global Haulage Limited.

The GNPC in a statement however insisted that there was no conflict of interest as far as the acquisition is concerned.

“The attention of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has been drawn to recent publications and news items on the acquisition of residential properties in Takoradi. The Corporation would like to set the records straight and to assure the general public that the Corporation acquired those assets in a transparent manner devoid of any conflict of interest.

“It must be re-emphasized that due processes were followed at all times during the purchase of the property. There was no conflict of interest as is being alleged.”

GNPC indicated that the property offered by Global Haulage Company Limited (GHCL) was “selected for purchase after reviewing other offers.”

Citi News checks reveal that Dr. Sarpong directed the Chief Finance Officer of GNPC to make the payment, saying “I am by this memo authorizing you to effect the payment to Global Haulage Company Ltd, the vendor instantly as per their invoice attached.”

He also admitted in the memo that the directive was an “unusual step.”

An audit of the transaction was expected to be performed after January 8, 2018. The underlying sale and purchase agreement with the seller had been effected before the said memo.

Dr. Sarpong concluded the memo by saying “I wish to indicate that I, the Chief Executive have taken full responsibility for this transaction. Please pay without hesitation.”

The property, according to the documents, is located at Chapel Hills in Takoradi.

Dr. Sarpong denies wrongdoing

But Dr. Sarpong has insisted that the deal was transparent.

In an interview on Accra-based Joy FM he said, “I had been connected with Global Haulage, but I must tell you that the transaction is above board, all valuation reports by relevant agencies went through the board of directors [and] the board of directors’ sub-committee on properties looked at it and recommended [its suitability] to the board,” he said.

He also said he was not involved in negotiations for the deal because of the conflict of interest concerns.

“Because of my experience [and] knowing that I have been related to Global Haulage, I never took part in the negotiations, and even the vendors themselves found it very difficult getting me to help them with the transaction,” the GNPC CEO stated.

Royal Bank ties

Unconfirmed reports indicated that proceeds from the sale of the property, which is said to house between 18 and 21 apartments, were injected into the struggling Royal Bank before its collapse.

However, Dr. Sarpong said he saw nothing wrong with this.

“If they [Global Haulage] took the money and they were injecting it into Royal Bank then so be it, but there will be nothing wrong with it because they’ve sold their property properly to us [GNPC].”