23 May 2014

Ghana: I Forged Minister's Signature

THE CRIMINAL Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), are close to unraveling the persons behind the forgery of the signature of Mr. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, to acquire an oil block.

Mr. Prosper Agblor, Director-General in charge of the CID, confirmed to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, that one Charles Andoh, a former employee of Miura Petroleum Limited (MPL), has admitted that he forged the signatures of both the Minister and the Managing Director of MPL.

Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr. Agblor told the GNA that Andoh is on police enquiry bail, but has not been reporting himself to the police since he was granted bail on April 17. COP Agblor said, as a result, Andoh's sureties have been ordered to produce him on the date fixed for his appearance in court, that is, Wednesday, May 28, or face the consequences.

Narrating the circumstances leading to the forgery, the CID Boss said in December last year, MPL, a company which is into oil exploration and development in the country, applied to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for an exploration and development site, in respect of the offshore Cape Three Points oil block.

He said the company was denied the request, but was asked to re-apply for another block. COP Agblor said while awaiting the re-application, there emerged online publications in Offshore Energy, Today, and Petroleum Africa Magazines that the Ministry had exclusively permitted a Canadian oil company, Gondwana Oil Company, to take up the offshore Cape Three Points oil block.

The Director-General said the publication was found to be false, and investigations revealed that it was actuated by letters allegedly forged on the letterheads of both the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, and the MPL, and forwarded to Gondwana Oil Company.

He said the suspected forged letters had the signatures purported to be those of the Energy Minister and the MD of MPL. COP Agblor said both personalities have denied any knowledge of the letters. In a press release dated April 10, the Ministry denied having invited the MPL for any negotiations over any block in Ghana's sedimentary basins.

The statement recounted that on December 23 last year, the MPL submitted an application for an exploration and production license over the offshore Cape Three Points South block. It said, unfortunately for the MPL, at the time of submitting the application, an evaluation of earlier applications for the block, had been completed, and a decision taken, and so the MPL's application was not processed for formal evaluation.

The statement said the Ministry, in a letter dated January 19, this year, informed the MPL of the unavailability of its area of interest, and, therefore, requested the company to re-direct the application to any available open block for consideration. With respect to Gondwana, the statement pointed out that the Ministry has never had any engagements with it, and, therefore, has no record of it.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of MPL has been arrested and granted bail by the EOCO, after intensive interrogation, because EOCO believes that he has questions to answer.


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