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Opinions of Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Columnist: NPP

Tsatsu’s Top Ten Integrity Challenges

*Tsatsu’s Top Ten Integrity Challenges Ghanaians must know.*

Ghana is somewhat of a beacon of perplexities. On the one hand the country is filled with citizens whose appreciation for peace and civility has kept the oldest Sub-Saharan state safe from civil conflict. It is also a country that places a high premium on personal integrity. Yet on the other hand it continues to heap praises upon personalities most lacking of integrity. Why Tsatsu Tsikata is continually referred to as the epitome of legal brains while sporting some of the shadiest of pasts is a mystery that can only be possible in Ghana. Here are ten areas Tsatsu is found wanting in intergrity that Ghanaians must know.

*Number Ten – Leadership at GNPC*

When Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was formed in 1985, it was handed over to “Mr. Legal wizzard” to run. He went to the Geological Department and dusted off some old seismic studies that had been conducted by the Soviets in the 1950s, touched them up some, and posited that GNPC has some data for investors. Needless to say for 15 years, no serious explorations or oil finds occurred.

Not only was the data archaic, the Petroleum Agreement (PA) that he composed was a turn-off for serious would-be investors. Not surprisingly, barely six years after his exit, new seismic data and more comprehensive PA led to Ghana’s first commercial quantity oil find. Today he is pounding his small chest to take credit for someone else’s work.

*Number Nine – Ex Convict*

While at the helm of GNPC, a state-owned and run corporation, Tsatsu Tsikata guaranteed a loan on GNPC’s behalf for Valley Farms and proceeded to buy shares of that company. When Valley Farms defaulted on the GHC230,000 loan from Caisse Centrale, now Agence Française de Développement (ADF), then Attorney General Joe Ghartey successfully prosecuted Tsikata in June 2008 for causing financial loss to the state. Tsikata was consequently sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was later pardoned by President Kufuor.

*Number Eight – Silly Constitution*

In a democracy there are three arms of government that should wield equal powers, or at least their assigned powers must be competitive. In Ghana today the executive wields almost 70 percent of the powers of running the country. In a country of just 25 million people, the president appoints over 5,000 people including regional ministers, mayors and district chief executives. In addition, power is too centralized in the nation’s capital whereby citizens must always troop there for some of the most basic needs such as passports. All these nation-running anomalies are possible because a group led by Tsatsu Tsikata damned all suggestions and authored a constitution to protect a former military dictator-turned civilian president.

*Number Seven – Infantile Political Vendetta*

After Tsatsu failed to deliver results at GNPC and was ousted, he learned that the new leadership had executed a plan and ushered in a new conducive era of oil exploration in Ghana. This era brought in Kosmos Energy, the Dallas, Texas-based company that discovered commercial quantity oil reserves in the Jubilee Fields. Rather than being happy for Ghana, Tsatsu went out of his way, albeit unsuccessfully, to sabotage the only private Ghanaian stakeholders in the field with the aim of helping to relinquish their interest so that it would revert back to foreign partners.

*Number Six – The ExxonMobil Push-back*

In 2010 when ExxonMobil was interested in buying Kosmos Energy’s assets in Ghana the global oil and gas giant has assets in excess of $310 billion. In comparison, the size of Ghana’s economy was estimated to be $16 billion. Furthermore, Ghana’s oil reserves of 1.8 billion barrels represented 0.7% of all the proven reserves in Africa. By this statistics, it is clear we needed ExxonMobil more than the other way round. And while other countries literally rolled out the red carpet to attract ExxonMobil, Ghana was fortunate to have caught the eyes of the global energy corporation. ExxonMobil’s entrance into Ghana would have meant a huge vote of energy confidence and attracted a large influx of energy investments. But guess the one who almost single-handedly stopped that from happening? You guessed it – Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata himself.

*Number Five – Still No Gas*

At a pre-2008 meeting of the Jubilee Field Partners, it was agreed that the partners would build the gas development pipelines concurrently with the oil development pipelines to save cost. And since Ghana did not have the funding to build the gas section, the partners would build it, operate it, and transfer it in a BOT arrangement. Ghana would eventually own it, but would invest nothing to build it. When the new Mills administration came in and Tsatsu assumed the position of Energy Czar, that arrangement was stopped. Almost five years later, we still do not have gas for our taxi drivers, but we have enough to flare into the atmosphere.

*Number Four – Defense of Dictatorship*

On June 4, 1979 when the Boakye-Gyan-led coup installed Flt Lt J J Rawlings as Head of State, the nation hailed the young soldiers for overthrowing an enduring military dictatorship. They honorably handed over a civilian democracy that same year and left the political scene. Two years later Rawlings would return and overthrow that term-limited democratic administration to unleash a reign of terror on Ghanaians. And the one person who defended that brutal dictatorship from the beginning and offered advice on how to terrorize Ghanaians was no other than Tsatsu Tsikata.

*Number Three – Theft of a Subordinate’s Wife*

During that reign of terror, Tsatsu’s status as the hidden dictator was manifested in his own heavy-handed reign at the newly formed Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). One of his subordinates who is better left nameless made the mistake of bringing his wife to a corporate function. The lady, Esther Kobo caught Tsatsu’s eye and almost immediately the poor officer was sent off on a long stint abroad. When he returned Tsatsu had snatched his wife and moved her to his home where she continues to live today.

*Number Two – The PetroSA Bribery Scandal*

Last year South Africa’s national petroleum corporation, PetroSA purchased Sabre Oil and Gas, a Ghanaian owned company which had 4% stake in the Jubilee Field. Although Sabre is a privately owned company, approval was needed from GNPC, and that approval was worth a whopping $20 million of under-the-table payment to Tsatsu and his boys. Now the South Africa anti-corruption police has launched an investigation into PetroSA’s unexplained $20 million payment, and Tsatsu’s name is certain to feature prominently in the coming weeks.

*Number One – The $5million Bribe*

As he leads the NDC’s legal team in the on-going presidential petition case at Ghana’s Supreme Court, Tsatsu Tsikata is the subject of an intense investigation for allegedly receiving a $5 million bribe from Modec, the Japanese company that built the Kwame Nkrumah Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. A well-placed source with the investigation revealed that Tsatsu Tsikata may end up in court. As evidence keeps mounting against him.

NPP-USA, Public Relations Committee.

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