Kobby Acheampong Delves Into Drill Ship Saga

acheampongThe new head of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Kobby Acheampong, says the 2012 presidential candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, must answer for the murkiness surrounding the sale of a drill ship belonging to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

Mr. Acheampong further suggested that the ongoing probe into the drill ship saga be made a criminal case, adding “…I have done my checks and I know that a lot of the documentation pertaining to this drill  ship was presented to the then Attorney General, Nana Akufo-Addo. I know that for a fact”.

The Discoverer 511 was sold for US$24 million to defray US$19.5 million indebtedness to French Bank, Societe Generale, in 2001.
However, US$3.5 million of the proceeds cannot be traced.

A former Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC, Dr. Amos Ofori Quaah, on Wednesday told the Judgment Debt Commission which had been  probing the matter that the ship was sold despite the absence of any court order for the payment of any judgment debt.

Dr. Quaah also said he was merely asked by the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to sign a power of Attorney for the ship’s sale.

At the time, Ghana was entangled in an arbitration tango with Societe Generale in a London court. An out-of-court settlement process was simultaneously rolled out back home in Ghana, between the two parties.

“…Eventually the ship had to be sold to pay off the indebtedness of GNPC. Apparently, as a result of the hedging, GNPC was indebted to Societe Generale to the tune of US$40 million, with $7 million in interest and cost, so a total of 47 million dollars,” Dr. Quaah told the Commission.

According to Kobby Acheampong, Nana Akufo-Addo has to tell the nation what he knew about the sale of the drill ship because he was the Attorney-General at the time and was the one “who called Dr. Quaah to come and sign the power of Attorney”.

“These are critical things, I mean, we keep going in winding circles in this country when simple questions can be asked for people to provide simple answers…and then we can make a headway. This is a serious matter,” Acheampong said.

The former Deputy Interior Minister insists the twice-defeated presidential candidate should be invited by the Judgment Debt Commissioner because “he should know where the documents” covering the transaction of the drillship are.

“That is something that has to be done if we want to make critical headway. We are making headway, but some of these things can be uncovered easily when certain key personalities are asked very succinct questions,” Acheampong pointed out.

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