17 June 2014

Ghana: GNPC Begs for Time Over Drill Ship Saga

The Chief Executive Officer of (CEO) of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Alexander Kofi-Mensah Mould, yesterday failed to appear before the Judgment Debt Commission, in respect of the sale of the controversial Drill Ship (Discoverer 511).

According to the Lead Counsel for the Commission, Dometi Kofi Sorkpor, his office called to request for an adjournment to next two weeks. However, the reasons for the failure to appear were not made known to the media, but the case had been adjourned to June 30, 2014.

Mr. Mould was to appear before the Commission to give evidence on the drill ship, which was sold at $24 million to defray a debt GNPC owed a French multinational bank, Societe General. The judgment debt was as a result of a failed agreement which the then GNPC Chief Executive, Tsatsu Tsikata, signed between the outfit and Societe Generale in the early 1990s.

The said the debt arose from some derivative transactions entered into by GNPC to manage oil price risks, in anticipation of the production of oil from the Tano fields. SG, in pursuance of its claim, sought and obtained orders from the courts to arrest the Discoverer 511, which was then on duty in the waters off Oman and actually arrested the vessel.

The vessel had been used as collateral for credit facility GNPC had obtained from SG. But in 1999, Societe General sued GNPC in a London court to recover the debt owed it by the state-owned oil company, resulting from the transaction.

In other matters, the Deputy Chief Valuer of the Land Valuation Division (LVD), of the Lands Commission, appeared before the Judgment Debt Commission to tell their side of the story in respect of Warrant Officer Agyei Boadi, as to the role they played in the compensation schedule.

According to him, the LVD undertook two different valuations which resulted in two values in 2008 and 2011. The first valuation came to almost GH¢120,000 and the second valuation rather dropped to GH¢92,000 in 2008 and 2011 respectively.

Mr. Tackie explained that the Attorney General's Department (AG) asked his outfit to consider the then rental value to do the valuation of the properties from 1989 to the day the judgment was given, looking at the market value. However, the second valuation was an update but the AG did not advise on any rental value that the rate was not specified.

WO Agyei Boadi had earlier petitioned the Commission on the failure by the State to pay the compensation in the sum of GH¢92000 due him, and as a result took over his properties which included a house, dam and a farm in Ekwam.

The land, which was located at Ekwamkrom, now Budumburam camp, given to one Prophet Ekwam, was taken over by the State for the Refugee Board and the Disaster Management Board for the Liberian refugees. WO Agyei Boadi and his Counsel are expected to appear today.

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