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General News of Saturday, 16 February 2019


Withdraw memo hijacking procurement processes - Freddie Blay to GNPC CEO

Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Freddie Blay is demanding an apology and the immediate withdrawal of a letter the Chief Executive of the Authority, Dr. K. K Sarpong wrote to the Chief Finance Officer of the firm over the recruitment of a procurement manager.

Dr. K. K Sarpong has come under intense pressure to reverse a decision that seeks to bring the procurement function of the Corporation’s Chief Finance Officer directly under him.

He has been accused of irregular recruitment and hijacking the procurement processes at the corporation.

An internal memo from the National Oil Company’s Chief Executive’s Secretariat, dated 4th February 2019 and addressed to the Chief Finance Officer, directed the latter to hand over the procurement function of the office to the Chief Executive.

In a letter sighted by Citi News, responding to a letter addressed to him earlier, Freddie Blay noted that the CEO, Dr. K.K Sarpong by his action was being subversive and going beyond his stated powers by sidestepping the decisions of the board.

“Indeed and as noted earlier, it is the need to ensure that the Board acts within the law and complies within the constitution which triggered the emergency meetings regarding your contract and tenure. The Board has since referred the matter to the sector Minister for advice and direction and there will be a follow up by the board on it. To conclude, I am totally at a loss as to the purpose and intent of this letter which was circulated even to your subordinates and also diabolically and suddenly leaked to hostile media and entities.

“I must state that your letter to me is riddled with innuendos, posturing and grand standing. In any corporate environment, this is completely unacceptable especially from a CEO to a Board Chairman. I demand its formal withdrawal forthwith and unqualified apology to the board and to me,” Mr. Blay added in the letter.

Minority Spokesperson on Energy, Adam Mutawakilu has also criticized the move by the GNPC CEO, saying it violates the principles of good corporate governance.

“GNPC has a mission to become a stand-alone operator in the next five years and an independent operator in the next fifteen years and an independent operator in the next 15 years.”

But the Memo from K.K. Sarpong justified the move saying, “as you’re no doubt aware the public procurement authority and the central tender review committee have in correspondence received recently, indicated challenges with GNPC Procurement function. The Honourable Minister for Energy has, in a letter dated 4th January 2019, (in which you were copied), re-echoed observations made by the central tender review committee.”

K.K. Sarpong’s GNPC procurement ‘hijack’ undermines transparency – Lecturer

A senior lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, Dr. John Gatsi had earlier said the decision by K.K. Sarpong will undermine transparency at the institution and create a conflict of interest situation if implemented.

“It is unfortunate because that is not how the corporate governance arrangement is supposed to be. The CEO of the company is supposed to be the overall supervisor of activities within the company, but it should be placed directly under a procurement officer. So the moment you bring the procurement officer’s role to add to your own, you limit the effectiveness of transparency, you limit accountability, and you introduce the possibility of a conflict of interest so I believe the process must be reversed immediately,” he said.