Business News of Friday, 23 March 2018
Source: Henry Teinor
The Ghana Energy Awards (GEA) has presented an honorary award to the Attorney General (AG) and Minister for Justice, Gloria Afua Akuffo, for her astute roles leading to Ghana’s victory of the maritime dispute between the country and La Cote d’Ivoire, ruled by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOs).
The award package, sponsored by the Ghana Gas Company, comprised of a plaque, a citation and a certificate of recognition.
She was supposed to have received the award at the maiden edition of the Energy Awards ceremony in November last year, in Accra, but had not been available. The awards were to be jointly received by both current and the immediate past Attorney Generals, Gloria Akuffo and Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong.
The latter has, however, been presented with her award.
Presenting the award Tuesday, at her office in Accra, Chairman of the Awards Panel, Dr Kwame Ampofo, formerly the Chairman of the Energy Commission, acknowledged the fact that the AG had faced the arbitration with a formidable team, who exerted invaluable efforts to achieve the victory for the country.
He described the ruling as a phenomenal event and commended the AG’s collaboration with her predecessor, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, the former Attorney General, adding that the synergy between the two was a demonstration of comradeship.
“You fought for economic emancipation. We thought that was wonderful. So we’re here to give you an award well-deserved,” Dr Ampofo noted.
Miss Akuffo, receiving the award on behalf of the AG’s Department, expressed profound appreciation for the recognition of what she described as “the feat of my life,” and lauded the organisers for the thought behind the event.
Not wanting to take sole credit for the outcome of the arbitration, she believed that her contribution was occasionally overstated, and that the work done by the former AG who had begun the processes, deserved no less commendation.
The arbitration of the maritime dispute, which she labelled as an inheritance from her predecessor, was for her, a learning curve as it was the first of such magnitude.
She said when she took reins of the case, her uppermost thoughts were the sovereign rights and sovereignty of Ghana. Thus, she gave an assurance to the former AG of her resolute commitment to the arbitration that nothing on their part would be done to undermine the success of the case, and consequently laboured to that effect.
Though formally considered a litigation between Ghana and Ivory Coast, she viewed the arbitration as reinforcing the peaceful relationship that had existed between the two sister countries. She said what was seen to be divisive, was really not, and that it had “bound us together.”
She recalled that those who earlier worked on the dispute had been struggling with amicable settlement over a decade. That at last, it became necessary that the matter be resolved by a neutral body.
“So I see it as a multifaceted victory, and that the victory is not only for Ghana, the victory is indeed for Ivory Coast as well,” she added.
The AG reiterated that the victory was not ‘a winner-takes-all’, as the judgment, though rendered, still has to be put into effect. This, she said, would require not only the efforts of the team from AG’s department and Ghana, but also a cooperation with Cote d’Ivoire, to realise a lasting effect to the decision.
Re-echoing her appreciation for the award presentation, she wished the GEA much success in subsequent events and appreciated Ghana Gas for its sponsorship.
Augustina Asare Osei, Senior Manager in charge of Government Relations at Ghana Gas, on her part, said her outfit is one of main forces in the oil and gas industry, and the energy sector. As such, anything to promote the energy sector is something that they are passionate about doing.
“And this Energy Awards was indeed the first one and a test case for all of us, especially for the organisers and for us the sponsors,” and added that they are looking forward to more collaborations with the Ghana Energy Awards.