General News of Tuesday, 1 December 2015
The Ranking Member on the Legal and Constitutional Affairs of Parliament is accusing the Board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) of causing financial loss to the state in the payment of ex-gratia to four ex-employees of the Corporation.
Joe Osei Owusu avers there was no basis for the over 3 million cedis payment made to the four ex-employees including two former Chief Executives Tsatsu Tsikata and Nana Asafo Agyei.
His damnation of the Board of the GNPC is a new sting in the tale of allegations, confirmations and denials of payments made to former heads of the GNPC.
MP for Adansi Asokwa KT Hammond set the scandal off with an allegation that GNPC had ordered the payment of various sums of monies to Tsatsu Tsikata, Nana Asafo Agyei, Esther Cobbah and Mr Benjamin Dagadu who used to be the Field Evaluation and Development Manager of the Corporation.
According to the Asokwa MP, Tsikata and Asafo Agyei were each paid one million cedis whilst the wife of Tsikata, Esther Cobbah who was then the Public Affairs Manager at GNPC was paid 600,000 cedis.
He described the payment as criminal and illegal and demanded an investigation into the payment.
On Monday, the GNPC issued a statement confirming the Board’s decision to make the payment to the four. While it will not disclose the exact amount paid to them, the Board stated the four employees had acquitted themselves well during their period of employment and that it was a “valid obligation” on the part of the Corpration to pay them their ex-gratia.
However, on Tuesday, Esther Cobbah issued a statement saying she was yet to receive any payment from the GNPC.
She claimed she was owed huge sums of monies in entitlements after she was removed rather unceremoniously in 2001 by the then Energy Minister.
She accused KT Hammond of plotting to deny her what is rightfully hers, professing “no weapon fashioned against me by the making of such unjustifiable attacks will prosper.”
But it appears she may have to widen her scope of defence against what she described as unjustifiable attacks.
This is because Joe Osei Owusu is wondering how Madam Cobbah of all persons will be making ex-gratia demands on the state and the GNPC.
“In the case of Madam Esther Cobbah we learned that she actually abandoned her post. She was transferred to the Gas Company and never stepped there (GNPC). Is such a person entitled to make any claims?” he questioned.
He said the payment by the Board is not only baseless but he had received information, lawyers of GNPC had written a legal opinion against the payment of the ex-gratia.
He said the Board must be held for causing financial loss to the state for approving payments to the four.