BoG: We Still Can’t Trace Accounts

Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, Sole Commissioner The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has reiterated that it cannot trace the records of accounts of the drill ship on its database. Mr. Paul Kwadwo Djang, manager of the Treasury Department, told the Judgement Debt Commission in Accra yesterday, that all frantic efforts made to find the account number 0001191613 where the $3.5 million balance from the $24 million proceeds of “Discoverer 511” was said to have been lodged by the Ministry of Energy, had drawn blank.

The drill ship was sold at $24 million in order for the state to pay a judgement debt of $19.5 million to Societe Generale.
“My Lord, we have made frantic efforts to locate documents relating to transfer of money on the drill ship to the said accounts, but we have not sighted any,” he stated.

The Central Bank had been subpoenaed for the second time by the Commission to give evidence as to whether the $3.5 million balance meant for the state, after the sale of the drill ship was lodged in Ghana International Bank Accounts in London, the United Kingdom.
“My Lord, I cannot say for sure whether such accounts exist, but we will still try hard in our search and see if we can find the said account number in our files,” he stated.

But the Sole Commissioner, Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, indicated that even if such accounts existed at all, it would have been opened after the disposal (sale) of the drill ship in April 17, 2001.

The ‘Discoverer 511’, belonging  to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was sold by the Ministry of Energy in April 2001, during the tenure of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under former President John Agyekum Kufuor, to offset the purported judgement debt, as ordered by a high court in London.

An official document which had been written by the Ministry of Energy to GNPC on the sale of the drill ship and sighted by The Ghanaian Times, contained pieces of information on how the proceeds were disbursed with regard to the settlement of all debts on behalf of the corporation (GNPC).

The breakdown of expenses is as follows:
a. Sale Price $24 million
b. Amount paid to Societe Generale – $19.5 million.
c. Balance – $4.5 million
d. Legal fees – $.1 million
e. Escrow Account $.9millin and (f) Balance paid to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) $3.5 million.

Asked by Mr. Justice Apau the modalities for opening foreign accounts with BoG, Mr. Djang said the Treasury (BoG) would normally give a mandate to the institution involved to open an off-shore account, adding that the Ghana International Bank in London received foreign money relating to the country.

The Commission, therefore, gave the BoG officials up to November 25, to come back with any information on the accounts of the balance.
Sitting was adjourned to today.   By Castro Zangina-Tong                  

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