General News of 2014-04-17

Officials of Canadian oil firm arrested in signature 'fraud' saga

Information gathered by Joy News indicates that the police have arrested officials of international oil exploration firm, Miura Petroleum Limited accused of forging the signature of the Energy Minister.
Personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department have been conducting searches at the offices and homes of the officials involved.
Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mahama Ayariga has confirmed the arrest of the officials to Joy News. Investigation is currently ongoing, he added.
He described the arrest as an “ordinary criminal case” that would be dealt with in accordance with Ghana’s criminal code.
The firm allegedly forged the Minister’s signature to lay claim to a piece of oil rich area, offshore of the south of the Cape Three points in the Western Region.
Miura Petroleum Limited is reported to have made an estimated 1.5 million dollars using the forged letter as a basis to sell off majority stake in the oil rich area to its parent company, Gondwana Oil Corporation in Canada.
According to documents issued in Canada and sighted by Joy News, the parent company has expressed surprise at the allegations, which it says are inconsistent with the documentation it has received from the Energy Ministry till date.
But Communication Specialist at the Ministry, Edward Bawa told Joy FM’s Top Story that the ministry only dealt with Miura but for Gondwana “we don’t know them, we don’t know that they exist.”
The Energy Ministry has begun an internal enquiry to establish if there was any collusion at the ministry.
The case was referred to the Economic and Organized Crime Office. JOY NEWS can report that the EOCO has already begun investigating the matter.
GONDWANA’S LETTER TO STAKEHOLDERS
JOY NEWS investigations reveal that the Canadian firm, Gondwana Oil Corporation had written to its shareholders on 18th March 2014, announcing that Ghana’s energy ministry had agreed to a deal that will allow its subsidiary to negotiate exclusively over the oil rich block South of the Cape Three Points.
The announcement to the shareholders was based in-part on a letter dated 24th September, 2013 purportedly signed by the Energy Minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah and on the Ministry’s official letterhead.
The said letter says in part that “we write to confirm the allocation of a licensed block to Miura Petroleum Limited to enable the company to assess our Geological Petroleum Database and subsequently to undertake exploration activity”.
But the Ministry in a statement categorically denies that that letter was ever written.
It also denies that the minister ever signed the letter. It concludes that “The company, therefore, forged the Hon. Minister's signature, the Ministry's letterhead, official stamp and reference number”.
GONDWANA ANNOUNCEMENT
TORONTO, April 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Gondwana Oil Corp. ("Gondwana" or the "Company") (CSE: GO) would like to comment on a press release from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum of Ghana (the "Ministry") dated April 10, 2014(the "Announcement").
The Announcement makes a number of allegations in connection with the activities of the Company's 70% held subsidiary, Miura Petroleum Limited ("Miura"), including with respect to its negotiations with the Ministry relating to Miura's application for the Offshore Cape Three Point South (OCTPS) block and the validity and status of Miura's application. The Announcement also makes allegations with respect to the authenticity of certain documentation issued by the Ministry in connection with Miura's application for the OCTPS block.
Gondwana was given no prior notification of the matters relating to the Announcement which is not in line with the usual protocol expected in these matters. Gondwana was surprised at the allegations, which are inconsistent with the documentation received by the Company to date.
Gondwana is taking all necessary steps to review and clarify this situation in conjunction with its outside Canadian and local counsel. Miura is currently having direct in-person discussions with the Ministry and is working with the Ministry to obtain a clarifying statement as soon as possible.
Troy Grant, President and CEO of the Company stated: "The State of Ghana is widely regarded as one of the most business friendly and transparent jurisdictions on the continent of Africa. We are working in cooperation with the Ministry in an effort to obtain a proper resolution as promptly as possible. We are confident that current discussions will result in a clear indication of the Company's position, and will provide an update to shareholders immediately upon new information being available, and at the latest by Wednesday, April 16, 2014."
GONDWANA UPDATE
TORONTO, April 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Gondwana Oil Corp. ("Gondwana" or the "Company") (CSE: GO) would like to provide an update further to its press release dated April 14, 2014 concerning the application by the Company's 70% held subsidiary, Miura Petroleum Limited ("Miura"), to acquire an interest in the Offshore Cape Three Point South(OCTPS) block, and the press release from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum of Ghana (the "Ministry") dated April 10, 2014 in connection with such application. Gondwana is working diligently and cooperatively with representatives of Miura and the Ministry. The Company anticipates it will be able to provide useful clarification as early as Thursday, April 17, 2014. For further information, please refer to the press release of the Company dated April 14, 2014 available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
GONDWANA OPERATING GHANA
Gondwana is actively involved in the development of prolific oil and gas targets offshore Ghana, adjacent to the world-class Jubilee field. Jubilee is a 2 billion barrel field producing 110,000 barrels of light 37 API oil per day. Jubilee’s discovery has created a staking rush up and down the coast of West Africa as major oil companies and entrepreneurial energy explorers seek the next major elephant-sized discovery. This area has had an unprecedented and incredible 65% rate of discovery on offshore wells drilled over the last 5 years.
Gondwana’s efforts in Ghana are led by well-respected, well-connected, prominent local partners. Its technical, developmental and farm-out efforts are led by world-class industry veterans who have a specific knowledge of the region.
In a statement last night, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy claimed that Miura Petroleum Limited is owned by the son of an international Ghanaian diplomat.