Drama Over Minister’s Signature
The alleged forgery of the signature of Energy and Petroleum Minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, by a former staff of a Canadian oil firm has taken a new twist.
Fresh evidence gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicates that the alleged ‘confidence trickster’, who gave his name to the police as Charles Andoh, is actually called Arafat and is said to hail from the Northern Region.
Since the arrest and granting of bail to Arafat before the Easter holidays – after a sweeping media blitz on the oil block scandal – the suspect has allegedly gone underground.
Andoh is said to have forged the signature of the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, ceding oil block, offshore the south of Cape Three Points to Miura Petroleum Limited, a subsidiary of Gondwana Oil Corporation, a Canadian oil firm.
Miura Petroleum Limited is reported to have made an estimated $1.5 million from the deal, using the alleged forged letter as a basis to sell off majority stake in the oil rich area to its parent company, Gondwana Oil Corporation.
The Accra Regional Police Command confirmed to DAILY GUIDE on Monday that suspect Andoh, upon his release on April 17, 2014, never reported to the police, even though he was asked to report daily.
The police revealed that the man who stood as surety, one Tonya Abela, when contacted, said the suspect was on admission at a hospital but failed to provide details of the facility.
In view of this, the police said a writ of summons had been served on Mr. Abela to appear before an Accra Circuit Court today to produce Andoh or face prosecution.
The suspect upon his arrest was detained for two days and granted bail of GH¢10,000.
It would be recalled that about two weeks ago, news broke that Andoh, said to be a former employee of Miura Petroleum Company Limited, had been arrested and quickly granted bail by the police for allegedly forging the signature of Mr. Armah Kofi Buah in an international oil deal.
According to the police, the suspect, Charles Andoh, was a confidence trickster who had forged the signature of the Minister, granting Gondwana Oil Company a concession of the south oil block.
The police said Mr. Andoh had asked the company to partner him to invest in an oil concession allocated to him by the government of Ghana.
According to the official statement, Andoh was said to have been arrested after his former employer, Karim Abu, director of Miura Petroleum, had received a copy of the alleged forged letter and consequently reported the matter to the police.
DAILY GUIDE sources said Gondwana Oil became interested in the $40million deal and decided to raise the needed funds on the international market for the block, but when they realized that the magnitude of the deal required a Parliamentary approval per Ghanaian laws, they suspected foul play.
According to sources, after floating the company on the stock market, it decided to do due diligence about the transaction only to realize that alleged acquisition of the block had no Parliamentary approval, raising questions about the whole transaction.
Realising that the lid on the deal had been blown, sources said the issue of the forged signature was thrown out, leading to the arrest of Arafat who was then given the name Charles Andoh.
Arafat claimed that he was paid to make himself a ‘sacrificial lamb.’
Interestingly, the Canadian firm is said to have parted with $1.5 million to those behind the deal.
Further information received indicated that the suspect claimed to have received an initial amount of GH¢25,000 with a promise of additional GH¢25,000 after his ‘confession’ and being presented to the police as Charles Andoh.
Charles Andoh is being represented by an Accra-based lawyer.
Andoh reportedly confessed before police investigators that he forged the Minister’s signature with the hope that the company in Canada would give him some money, adding that it was the first time he was committing such an act.
Charles Andoh was arrested following reports by Miura Petroleum GH Ltd and Gondwana Energy, that they had been defrauded by Charles who forged the Minister’s signature and also forged the signature of the Managing Director of Miura Petroleum Ltd to transact businesses.
The Ministry of Energy has since forwarded documentations regarding the issue to the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) to aid in its investigations.
However, the Minister of Energy said the matter was a straightforward criminal case which has been referred to the CID and EOCO.
According to Armah Kofi Buah, his outfit had not dealt with the companies involved in the alleged forgery.
Asked if he had met the suspect, he replied in the negative, but conceded later that the police brought Andoh to his office after his arrest.
On why an employee of a company would want to forge his signature in a multimillion dollar oil transaction, Mr. Armah Kofi Buah said “I cannot read his mind,” adding it was a purely criminal case.
The case, he explained, had been referred to the CID boss, Commissioner of Police, Prosper Kwame Agblor.