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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Columnist: Atta-Krufi, Hayford

NPP should bare its teeth at Sole Commissioner

The whole nation has been following with interest the proceedings at the Judgement Debt Commission especially its investigation into the sale of the drill ship Discoverer 511 in 2001 to pay for the debt GNPC owed Societe Generale in 1996. For each day that the proceedings go on it becoming more and more obvious that the Commission's obsession with this drill ship investigation is being used as a mere smoke screen to divert attention away from the current problems facing us as a nation.
This GNPC Drillship saga has seen former Energy Minister and his Deputy, Albert Kan Dapaah and K.T. Hammond respectively appearing at the judgment debt commission on Monday 25th November, followed by the appearance of Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, the Managing Director of GNPC at the time the debt was incurred. They have all indicated the roles they played and roles played in the sale of the ship and the circumstances surrounding the sale of the drill ship. From the information gathered so far some facts have become evident to the Commission and the general public.
The facts have been established that in 1996, the GNPC owed Societe Generale over $40 million which accrued interest of $7 million, which debt was prudently reduced to $19 million by the NPP administration when it assumed office in 2001. It is also evident that Societe Generale had secured a default judgement for $47 million and had secured a precautionary arrest of GNPC’s Discoverer 511 in Oman as a result.
It has also been established that the GNPC drill ship, Discoverer 511, was sold in July 2001 by the NPP Administration for US$24million to defray the debts of the GNPC which included some US$19.5million owed Societe Generale, $1million as the company’s legal fees and other expenses; and a balance of $3.5million paid into government’s account in Ghana International Bank PLC (GIB) in London.
There is credible evidence available that on July 25, 2001, the Treasury Officer at the Office of Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, Mr. Emmanuel Bani in a letter titled: OPENING OF ACCOUNT- TREASURY OFFICER SPECIAL DOLLAR INVESTMENT ACCOUNT, instructed the GIB to open a dollar account for the Commission
It is clear that all witnesses have so far cooperated with the Judgement Debt Commission and provided all the information they need to assist them with the investigation. This information has been given in the testimonies of the former boss of GNPC, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, former Energy Minister and his Deputy, Albert Kan Dapaah and K.T. Hammond respectively. Out of this evidence we have gleaned out completely all the circumstances surrounding the sale of the drill ship.
The NPP should begin to realise from this point going forward that the Sole Commission is becoming a Trojan War Horse, a smoking gun and an NDC smearing propaganda aimed at attempting to scandalise persons such as Nana Akufo-Addo who was the AG at the time. He is the target of this witch hunt.
It is beginning to appear that The Sole Commissioner's investigation into this drill ship is being motivated by mere speculations that some key officials of the erstwhile NPP Administration may have embezzled the US$3.5million dollars difference from the sale of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) drill ship.
Even though some officials of the erstwhile NPP administration have expressed their willingness to appear before the Commission, if invited, NPP as a party should begin to realise that this will not be necessary as witnesses so far have already given the Commission enough and satisfactory evidence.
It is about time that NPP stayed bold enough to declare their intention of blocking its party members from any further cooperation with the Commission on this matter. It will not be out of order to boycott any further invitations to the Commission's hearing considering the fact that all the current evidence before it have been ignored and are pursuing a preconceived perception.
The Sole Commissioner's work is now becoming a witch hunt and a ploy of political equalisation. It is being used by the NDC administration to divert attention from the current economic woes Ghanaians are going through. It is being used to divert attention away from the more recent fraudulent judgement debts such as Woyome, Waterville, Isofoton and many more. It is being used to usurp the powers of the Supreme Court in its decision over the Waterville Case. It is also being used as a diversionary tactics to circumvent investigate matter of corruption such as in GYEEDA and SUBA. The Commission is “bogus and fraudulent at birth.”

Kwesi Atta-Krufi, Hayford.