General News of 2013-12-02

Drill Ship Saga: Tsatsu’s lies exposed

When he appeared before Justice Appau, the Sole Commissioner on Judgment Debt appointed by President John Dramani Mahama, Tsatsu Tsikata, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, claimed that he had agreed to pay $12m to Societe Generale as debts owed by GNPC in respect of the controversial drill ship which has taken centre stage in the work of the commission. Mr Tsikata, however, did not show any document to authenticate his claim, neither did the commission demand any documentary evidence to ascertain the veracity of the claims he was making.

Contrary to the claims he made, ample evidence has emerged to show that Mr Tsikata rather defended and justified the $40 million debt claim Societe Generale had made against GNPC in respect of the drill ship.

Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, who made this disclosure on the Joy FM/MultiTV’s ‘Newsfile’ programme Saturday, described Mr Tsikata as “a debt defender” to Societe Generale.

Mr Tsikata described former President Kufuor as “a debt collector” for Societe Generale when he appeared before Justice Apau. Many people believe the Judgment Debt Commissioner should not have allowed the former GNPC boss to use such an important platform to insult the former president. “If Tsikata is now describing Mr Kufuor as a debt collector, he, Tsikata, was a debt defender,” Kwaku Baako fired.

Indeed, Mr Baako produced copies of Board minutes from the GNPC in which Mr Tsikata had defended the $40 million debt claim by Societe Generale.

Quoting profusely from the December 16, 1998 minutes of the Board meeting, Kweku Baako further indicated that Mr Tsikata had also defended the hedging policy the corporation entered into with the French bank which has now become the basis of a judgement debt scandal in the country.

Mr Baako stated that when Tsatsu Tsikata was asked by one of the Board members if the claim of $40m by Societe Generale was justifiable, Mr Tsikata insisted that the claim was justified.

He quoted the chairman of the Board reprimanding Tsatsu for entering into such a transaction without the Board's approval and advised him to inform the Board on subsequent transactions.

Many people think the uproar surrounding the sale of the GNPC drillship has emanated from the desperate efforts by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government to drag the name of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, into disrepute.

Indeed, others, including Kweku Baako, are even convinced that Nana Akufo-Addo has become the sole target of the sole commissioner in view of his line of questioning when Albert Kan Dapaah, former Energy Minister, his deputy, K.T Hammond, and former GNPC boss, Tsatsu Tsikata, appeared before him to give testimony.

Many functionaries of the Mahama government insist Nana Akufo-Addo must be made to appear before Justice Appau to give testimony. Presidential staffer Clement Apaak claimed at the weekend that there were more questions than answers in the deal and demanded that Nana Akufo-Addo, who was the Attorney General when the sale of the drill ship took place, must be hauled before the Commission.

Meanwhile, an aide to Nana Akufo-Addo, Mustapha Hamid, last week revealed that the former Attorney-General had indicated his readiness to appear before Justice Apau to answer questions about the role he played in the sale of the drill ship.