The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) says it does not have the court proceedings that preceded the sale of the Discoverer 511 Drill Ship.
The proceedings formed part of the processes leading to the controversial disposal of the State asset.
Ghana Government in 2001 sold the GNPC’s Drill Ship at $24 million to service several debts owed by the Stated-owned oil company following a series of failed agreements entered into in the 1990s.
Out of the amount received from the sale of the ship, $19.5 million was said to have been paid to Societe Generale as judgment debt secured against GNPC in a London Court in 1999.
The Drill Ship was bought by a Norwegian businessman and his wife who changed the name to ‘Frontier Discoverer’ in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after it had been intercepted in Muscat, Oman, in the gulf region.
Adwoa Afriyie Wiafe, Principal Legal Officer at the GNPC appearing before the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payments of judgement debts, told Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal that, ‘We don’t have in our possession the proceedings of the case.’
She said the GNPC had made it clear at its last appearance at the Commission that the Attorney General (AG) took over the case and the Corporation was no longer involved.
‘We were of the opinion that perhaps the AG, who was involved in the case, would be the proper person to provide the proceedings, but since the Commission wants us to produce them we will contact the court to get them.’
Dometi Kofi Sorkpor, counsel for the Commission, then suggested to the GNPC representative that even though the AG was represented, the GNPC was a party to the suit. But the witness insisted, ‘It was the AG who took over the case and we were not involved in the proceedings.’
Adwoa Afriyie Wiafe said, ‘When they took over we ceased to be part of the case. We were a party at the time the AG took over. Our supervisory Ministry (Ministry of Energy) informed us about the outcome of the case and we considered that as sufficient evidence of what had taken place.’
Justice Apau then cut in, ‘The case was GNPC’s case and the AG wrote to dispense of the services of their lawyers and said they were going to take over the defence of the suit but they didn’t. The AG did not go to the UK.’
He continued, ‘They didn’t defend it that was why the judgement was ex-parte. As an ex-parte judgement, since it affects the corporation, you have to apply for copy of the proceedings and the judgement that followed for records purposes.
‘The AG’s office at that time truncated the GNPC’s defence and counterclaim so the Commission would like to know what happened in the judgment that was entered.’
Head of Treasury Department at the Bank of Ghana, Yao Agbelenko Abalo, also tendered in evidence exchange rate of the major foreign currencies from January 1991 to January 2014.
A partner of Ernst and Young, Victor Gboglah, told the Commission that he audited CP’s account from 2000 to 2012 and said Owusu & Fiadjoe had audited the company’s account from 1991 to 1995 after which Fiadjoe & Associates did it from 1996 to 1999.
By William Yaw Owusu
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