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26.11.2013 Politics

Missing $3.5m used to pay salaries of staff of Ghana's High Commission?

By | Jerry Tsatro Mordy
Missing $3.5m used to pay salaries of staff of Ghana's High Commission?
LISTEN NOV 26, 2013

Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Kweku Baako claims he has evidence to prove that part of the controversial $3.5 million realised from the sale of a drill ship, was used to pay the salaries of staff of Ghana's High Commission in London.

Mr. Baako said he had "seen three dubious" withdrawals that suggest part of the money was used for that "weird" purpose.

The sale of the Ghana National Petroleum Commission's (GNPC) Discoverer 511 drill ship in 2001, has become a subject of debate at the hearing of the Judgment Debt Commission. It was sold for $24 million to defray a debt owed to Societe Generale as a result of a hedging deal.

Although the bank was paid $19.5 million in judgment debt in 2001, Societe Generale claims it does not have any document covering the transaction. The remaining $3.5 million  can also not be traced.

Mr. Kobina Tahir Hammond, who was Deputy Energy Minister at the time the ship was sold, on Monday presented to the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Apau, a 65-page document which he claimed indicated how the $3.5 million was disbursed.

Another key figure in the transaction, Energy Minister at the time, Albert Kan Dapaah also gave his side of the story Monday, at the Commision. He explained that after consultation with experts, government had no option than to sell the drill ship.

But speaking on the Super Morning Show of Joy FM, Tuesday, Mr. Baako said he had in his possession documents of three withdrawals which according to him, are of "dubious validity".  

"I've seen three withdrawals that appeared quite strange because they are linked to the payment of staff of the treasury office and for that matter even the staff of the High Commission...and that didn't make sense to me in terms of the rational for the disbursement or withdrawal," he told Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, host of the Show.

Akufo-Addo's presence
Meanwhile, Kweku Baako says Nana Akufo-Addo who was the Attorney General at the time, needs to expplain to Ghanaians why his Ministry failed to make an appearance in court leading to the award of default judgment against the government.

"It was clear to me that the Attorney General, in this case Nana Akufo-Addo; his presence might be necessary because of the drift yesterday," Baako said.

He said the presence of the New Patriotic Party's 2012 presidential candidate at the Commission's hearing, will help put matters to rest.

"In any way it's going to be a clash of legal arguments and position as to what ought to have been done and not done".

In a related development, Larry Dogbey, Editor for the Herald newspaper which also published series of articles regarding the sale of the drill ship, says the nation needs to "delve deeper" into the issue to trace the missing money.  

According to Mr. Dogbey, three fundamental questions - Was there judgment debt awarded against government? How much was the amount and the whereabouts of the $3.5million - are begging for responses that are yet to be given.

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