General News of Wednesday, 9 December 2015
Adansi Asokwa MP KT Hammond has said Mr Tsatsu Tsikata’s defamation suit against him, in connection with some comments he made regarding ex gratia payments allegedly made by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to Mr Tsikata and three others, is “disappointing.”
“I had actually thought that he was going to be man enough to take a particular tangent; I see that he couldn’t do that,” Mr Hammond told journalists in an interview.
“I don’t know what he’s talking about. I’ve read [the suit]…I still don’t understand what the claim is against me…I’m scratching my brain, I’m racking my brain…what the hell is going on? I do not understand what is in that document,” the former deputy Energy Minister said.
Mr Tsikata, in a recent press statement, said: “I have had a writ issued in the High Court against the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Hon. K.T. Hammond, for defamatory statements against me that have been given extensive publicity.”
Mr Hammond recently alleged that Mr Tsikata, as well as three other former top-level management staff of GNPC – Esther Cobbah (Mr Tsikata’s wife), Nana Asafu-Adjaye (former Acting CEO) and Mr Benjamin Dagadu, were paid ex-gratia packages by the Corporation, despite leaving the state institution more than a decade ago.
Apart from Mr Tsikata’s wife, whom Mr Hammond said received about GHS600, 000, the other three, he said, received about GHS1 million each.
A member of GNPC’s Board, Mr Abraham Amaliba, however, revealed recently that only one person had so far received the package.
Esther Cobbah also issued a statement saying although she deserved the money and had been informed of it, she had not yet received any payment.
Her husband also said in his correspondence dated December 5 that, contrary to claims by Mr Hammond that he (Mr Tsikata) had been paid GHS1 million as ex gratia, no money had been advanced to him from the GNPC to that effect.
“After over 12 years of service to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) as chief executive, even salary payments during a period when I was on leave in 2001 were not made to me.
“My entitlements to the Provident Fund were never paid – not even my own contributions. No End of Service benefits of any sort were ever paid.
“A letter I wrote to the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the time was not answered. In a radio interview recently, Hon. K.T. Hammond, who was the Deputy Minister for Energy in that period, falsely claims that I must have been paid some entitlements. He will now have the opportunity in court to justify this and other false and defamatory statements he has been making against me,” Mr Tsikata said in the statement.
However, Mr Hammond told journalists: “…I thought it was carved out to be a big show. I’m beginning to think that it will fizzle out at the first shot. So, yes, it did disappoint me seriously.”