Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Hadzide has urged IMANI Africa to apologise for suggesting that the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) boss, Dr K.K.Sarpong supposedly violated conflict of interest rules in the Aker Energy’s oil dealings in Ghana.
Mr. Hadzide on the Big Issue on Citi FM/Citi TV, argued that IMANI has not provided enough evidence to back such damaging claim.
“I think that the honourable approach will be to apologise and an attempt to justify and to say that we (IMANI) sought to ask questions will be adding insult to injury because you have indeed caused some serious injuries.”
At a press conference in Accra on Thursday, the Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, alleged that Dr Sarpong and his family own Fueltrade, one of the local partners of Aker Energy, which has been engaged in oil exploration at the Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points field.
Aker Energy is the operator of the field with a 50 per cent stake and recently submitted a U$4.4 billion plan for development to the government for approval.
Kofi Bentil indicated that his outfit had picked intelligence of a potential conflict of interest and was seeking further explanations.
While sharing his opinion on the Big Issue, Mr. Hadzide said: “If I were Dr. K.K. Sarpong, I would be giving instructions for my lawyers to proceed to court already.”
“It’s an advice, they are free to take it or leave it but if they don’t take it some of us will advise Dr. K.K. Sarpong to do the needful because we have to nip some developing trends in our country in the bud.”
“We cannot under the guise of free speech and civil society activism destroy people’s integrity just because we seek to ask questions,” he added.
Dr. Sarpong has so far only asked for an apology albeit with a hint of further legal action.
He also criticised IMANI for not being thorough enough with its verification before making the claims.
Fueltrade Ltd has also refuted IMANI Africa’s claims and asked for an apology over the conflict of interest claims.
The deputy minister also reiterated concerns that IMANI did not do any due diligence before the press conference.
“If IMANI wants us to take them seriously they need to check and double check before they engage with the public in the manner that you did. [There was a] Major press conference [by IMANI] to ask questions that could have been found by just going to the Registrar General.”