General News of 2014-05-23

Minister fights back over forged signature allegations

The Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, has insisted that his signature was forged by 35-year-old Charles Andoh, who is said to be a former staff of Miura Petroleum Limited.

Charles Andoh, according to the Minister, had owned up as the person who allegedly forged his signature to secure an oil block for Miura Petroleum and Gondwana Oil Corporation.

The accused is currently on the run, having jumped bail after he was arrested by the police.

Miura Petroleum has, however, emphasized that none of its staff had been arrested by the police, adding that it does not know anybody by name Charles Andoh.

The Energy Minister revealed that his attention was drawn to the forged document when he realised that although the Ministry started dealing with Miura Petroleum in December 2013, the company had come up with documents which were dated 0ctober2013.

The inconsistencies, he said, made him curious, for which reason the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) was tasked to launch an investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, an Accra Circuit Court has begun hearing in absentia a case of forgery brought against Charles.

The court has since ordered his surety, Tonya Abela, and another to produce the accused before May 28.

Mr. Kofi Buah, who came under public criticism for "undue award of contract to the company," had debunked the allegation and indicated that "Miura Petroleum, a local partner of Gondwana Oil Corporation, was a criminal entity which sought to use forged documents to misinform its anxious shareholders."

According to a source dose to die Ministry, the Minister had hinted that it had taken steps to publish a portrait of Charles Andoh to aid the Police Service to smoke him out.

Miura Petroleum is reported to have applied to the Ministry for a particular oil block for exploration in December 2013, but was turned down because 10 other companies had applied for the same block.

Six of the companies were shortlisted pending further approval by the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Cabinet, before final ratification by Parliament.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service and the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) are handling the case.

COP Prosper Agblor, Director-General in charge of the CID, told the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday that Charles Andoh, a former employee of Miura Petroleum Limited (MPL), had admitted to the police that he forged the signatures of both the Minister' and the Managing Director of MPL.

Meanwhile, MPL has denied reports that one of its directors had been arrested by the police in connection with the forged signature of the Energy Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah.

The company in a release issued last week and signed by David Brown, head of legal team said, "No director of Miura Petroleum has been arrested or accused of any wrongdoing".