November 14, 2013

Former Deputy Energy Minister, K.T. Hammond, has expressed his readiness to appear before the Judgment Debt Commission currently probing the sale an oil drill ship of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) which was sold in 2001.

He has finally been summoned to appear before the commission on Monday 18th November 2013, to answer certain pertinent questions relating to the sale of the ship.

The ship was sold for $24 million, but the whereabouts of $3.5 million balance taken from an escrow account to be deposited in government of Ghana’s coffers still remains a mystery.

Mr K.T. Hammond had said apart from paying $19.5 million dollars of the $24m to Societe Generale in judgment debt, $3.5 million was paid to the Finance Ministry, and $1 million was used in settling other debts including fees for government’s counsel.

But officials of the Energy Ministry and GNPC previously told the Judgment Debt Commission they cannot confirm the claim that $3.5m was paid to the Finance Ministry because there was no official documentation covering the transaction.

The Commissioner Justice Yaw Appau on Monday noted that K. T. Hammond’s role in the sale of the oil shipping drill was confusing.

Justice Yaw Appau commented: “September 24, 2001 was when new (GNPC) board was appointed, so when it was sold there was no board. So we cannot tell specifically who took the decision to sell, if there were no board in place then it could not have been the board.

“….the former deputy minister [K.T. Hammond] said on radio that he was directed by president [Kufuor] to go and sell the ship and defray the cost…in another vein he said he was given the power of attorney to sell by the GNPC. If there was no board then who granted the power of attorney to sell?”

But speaking on Asempa FM’s Eko sii sen show on Thursday on his summons, Hon. K. T. Hammond said he was confident that he and his then Boss, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah answers to be given at the commission would lay all the nagging questions on the sale of the ship to sleep.

He noted that he has all along been yearning to appear before the commission to clear the doubts in the minds of some people since nothing fishy was done in the sale of the ship.

Hon. K.T Hammond however wondered why he and his former boss have been asked to appear before the commission a day before Mr Tsatsu Tsikata under whose tenure as the GNPC boss, the ship was seized abroad due to the GNPC’s indebtedness.

“Since Mr Tsikata was the CEO of GNPC for several years until the year 2000 and whose tenure the ship was confiscated in Oman, it would have been better for him to appear first, but as it is now there could be a back and forth discussion on the issue if we go first, but if the date remain unchanged we’ll go there as law abiding and patriotic Ghanaians to tell our side of the matter’’ he said.

Kwadwo Anim/