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PetroSA-GNPC deal: I'd rather be fired than to resign - Freddie Blay replies CSOs

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Wed, 24 May 2023 Source:

Freddie Blay, Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has reacted to calls by a group of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) calling for him to be immediately dismissed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Blay, a former New Patriotic Party (NPP) chairman in an interview with Citi FM said he would rather be fired by the appointing authority than to resign.

He also confirmed having held talks with President Akufo-Addo over a May 16 stinging letter Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh wrote in respect of a planned sale of 50% shares of government's stake in an oil field to South African firm, Petro SA.

“Possibly, I could be fired, but I don’t see any reason why they are saying I should resign about this issue. I have done nothing wrong. I have observed my conscience and I thought I was protecting the interest of the country, and I am convinced about it and if others think otherwise and if those who appointed me are saying otherwise, then so be it.

“I have spoken to the president about it, and we haven’t gotten to where he will ask for his job back. It is not about convincing the president, the law will speak for itself and the law will talk and there are few documents on the agreement.”

Concern of CSOs

A group of 29 CSOs on Extractive Governance on May 23, 2023 called for the immediate dismissal of Freddie Blay and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah.

The calls came on the back of recent reports and documents indicating GNPC’s intention to sell 50% stake in Jubilee Holdings Limited (JOHL) in a deal with a South African oil company, PetroSA despite significant revenue potential this interest holds for the state.

Coordinator for the Economic Governance Platform, Abdul Karim Mohammed told the press that the persistent involvement of such persons associated with such deals pose significant risk to Ghana’s stake and interest in the petroleum sector.

“We demand the immediate removal of GNPC’s CEO, Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah and the Board Chairman, Freddie W. Blay from their respective positions as they have become a threat to Ghana’s interest in the petroleum sector”, he said.

Abdul Mohammed further noted that Energy Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has vehemently opposed the decision by the GNPC Board Chairman [Freddie Blay] in offering interest in Ghana’s stake to PetroSA which is based in South Africa.

“It is a viable field, and it is giving us a lot of money if we allow this to go forward. What it means is that PetroSA will be entitled to 50 percent of the earnings from the field, whereas they have not had any role in developing the field to the point where it is now viable," he explained.

“The information we have is that the Minister for Energy has objected to this transaction but the Chairman of GNPC Board is pushing this transaction to the extent that the Minister of Energy had written to the Jubilee House over this transaction,” the Coordinator added.

Meanwhile, documents in the media have suggested that Freddie Blay in his capacity as the GNPC Board Chairman is said to have written to PetroSA offering it an equal split in the interest held by GNPC’s subsidiary, Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited.

The move has since resulted in backlash from the CSOs made up of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC), Imani Centre for Policy and Education and 25 others.

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