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General News Sat, 30 Nov 2013

Drill ship saga: Akufo-Addo has lots of questions to answer - Apaak

A presidential staffer Dr Clement Apaak insists the 2008 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party has lots of questions to answer in the controversial oil drill ship sale in 2001.

According to him, Nana Akufo-Addo must appear before the Judgement Debt Commission to explain why he superintended over the "curious" swelling of a judgement debt from 14 million dollars to 40 million dollars.

He said the NPP leader must also explain to the Commission what informed the decision of the Kufuor government to discontinue litigating the debt claim by French Multi-national bank, Societe Generale.

Apaak was speaking on Joy FM's Newsfile programme which was discussing the controversial judgement debt scandal between GNPC and Societe Generale, which is currently being investigated by the Commission set up by President John Mahama to probe all judgement debts in the country.

The Kufuor government in 2001 sold for 24 million dollars an oil drill ship belonging to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to settle a debt of 19.5 million dollars owed to Societe Generale.

One million of the amount was used to settle debts owed lawyers and other officials involved in the case, with the remaining 3.5 million dollars deposited in a Ghana government account in UK.

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There has been huge controversy with conflicting accounts on how the debt was accrued and whether the country was shortchanged by paying more than it was supposed to.

Tsatsu Tsikata, who was former GNPC boss and who brokered the transaction with Societe Generale is convinced the NPP government slept on the job and paid to Societe, far more than they deserved.

He also stated the government should not have sold the oil drill ship which was raking in lots of money to GNPC.

But both Kan Dapaah and KT Hammond who were Energy and deputy Energy Minister in 2001 have contested the claims by Tsikata.

All of the three have appeared before the Judgement Debt Commission to explain the parts they played in incurring that debt.

Presidential Staffer, Dr Clement Apaak believes there is more than meets the eye in the scandal and Nana Addo would be the best person to explain how the debt came about.

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He also chided critics of the sole commissioner to stop "maligning" him, adding any suggestion that the Sole Commission was set up to witch hunt former government officials is erroneous.

But Deputy Minority Leader Dominic Nitiwul who was also on the show dismissed the claims by Apaak.

He said given the facts that have been adduced before the Commission, there will be no need for Nana Addo to make an appearance, even though the NPP 2008 flag bearer is ready to make an appearance when he is invited.

Nitiwul said it is clear the actions taken by the government in 2001 have rather saved the country millions of dollars.

Source: XYZ