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GNPC Loan Saga: CSOs not happy with Steve Manteaw

Steve Manteaw 9 Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Dr Steve Manteaw

Sat, 14 Aug 2021 Source: theheraldghana.com

What is looking like sponsored agenda to divide the front of the Civil Society Organizations in the ongoing debate about US$1.65 billion loan demand by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), has received a pushback from one of the key actors in the forefront of those asking that GNPC, must thoroughly clarify its decision to buy back some two oil blocks it previously owned.

Benjamin Kwabena Boakye of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), tore into two publications in the Daily Statesman and New Crusading Guide newspapers from a meeting held on the Zoom platform over GNPC's attempt to purchase some two oil blocks from AKER and AGM, calling them twisted reports.

The ACEP boss, denied a plot hatched by him and his colleagues, including Bright Simons of IMANI Ghana and Dr. Yao Graham, the Co-ordinator of the Third World Network (TWN) Africa, who mentioned in the syndicated publications, were out to scuttle the transaction, insisting they are rather out to protect national interest.

Mr Boakye in a Facebook post explained that "the meeting agenda was, among others, to discuss what happened on Newsfile between myself and Dr Steve Manteaw and evidence that there was a mole in the Group, who leaked our draft statement to Aker and GNPC".

He further denied that the meeting was a secret one as claimed, and asked that the two newspapers make public the full content of the CSOs meeting on the zoom as recorded by them, saying sarcastically "…I feel jealous that my name is not in the story. I had strong views on that call that Ghanaians will be interested in judging whether the discussions were anti-Ghana".

The two publications, had claimed that some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to scuttle the proposed oil agreement between GNPC and Aker Energy, have been exposed by audio files in possession of the newspapers.

It said the CSOs, in a Zoom meeting, chaired by Dr Yao Graham, had put in place deliberate strategies to create a sense of fear and panic within the population over "climate change concerns", as they spearhead an agenda to prevent Ghana from achieving its long-standing ambition of putting Ghanaians in charge of oil and gas resources.

"For the CSOs who are determined to promote the interest of their foreign pay masters, instead of the national interest, Ghana should leave her oil resources on the sea bed and rather borrow to promote the climate change agenda of their pay masters", the publication claimed.

"The transaction will ensure that GNPC Explorco receives US$5 billion dollars in cash flow, with Ghana being the recipient of some US$18 billion in revenue, thereby having control over its oil resources and destiny. It has therefore become mind-boggling to many Ghanaians as to why some CSOs will scheme to have this all-important transaction scuttled", it wondered.

But the ACEP boss denied any such plot insisting that the meeting was held on Dr. Manteaw's unprincipled conduct on Joy FM's newsfile programme.

"On Dr Manteaw, the Group felt his open disagreement with the Group was not principled because he had the opportunity to do so as part of the Group. He didn't do it but lent his Organization to support the statement. Then turn around to oppose the Group on Joy FM. What is worse is that Dr Manteaw was introduced as the Chairman of the Group, Alliance of CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, when there's no such title in the Group. The Encounter on Newsfile, to me, felt like a sponsored attack on the Group. But we offered to give him a hearing to understand why he disagreed somewhat in public without discussing with the Group. But he did not show up.

Below is what the ACEP boss wrote in response to the two publications

Now I feel jealous that my name is not in the story. I had strong views on that call that Ghanaians will be interested in judging whether the discussions were anti-Ghana. The twist to the meeting should give the genuine people who were on that call confidence that some people are worried about the potential of the terrible deal failing if the people got to understand what GNPC wants to do.

The meeting agenda was, among others, to discuss what happened on Newsfile between myself and Dr Steve Manteaw and evidence that there was a mole in the Group who leaked our draft statement to Aker and GNPC.

On Dr Manteaw, the Group felt his open disagreement with the Group was not principled because he had the opportunity to do so as part of the Group. He didn't do it but lent his Organization to support the statement. Then turn around to oppose the Group on Joy FM. What is worse is that Dr Manteaw was introduced as the Chairman of the Group, Alliance of CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, when there's no such title in the Group. The Encounter on Newsfile, to me, felt like a sponsored attack on the Group. But we offered to give him a hearing to understand why he disagreed somewhat in public without discussing with the Group. But he did not show up.

On the issue of a mole in the Group, there is a document circulating in the media and published by GhanaWeb, supposedly responding to the questions in the Group's press statement. Some media houses called to interview members of the Group and indicated that that document emanated from GNPC and Aker. We noted, however, that the responses were made to the Group's first draft statement, which changed substantially on the final statement released. This clearly shows that someone leaked the draft document from the Group, which the sponsors of the transaction inadvertently used in answering to the Group.

These were the issues that were discussed dispassionately. It was open to the entire Group. It was virtual, so we were aware of the possibility of the leakers entrenching third trade. Nothing was said that cannot be said on the radio. We saw no reason to record that conversation. Therefore, if Crusading guiding guide and Statesman are not cowards, they should put out the over two hours meeting they recorded.

This is clear that the national interest is to expose how Aker energy is scheming to sell its stake in Ghana and manage to stay on as an operator to milk the country. So let's focus on the specifics. If anyone has energy, bring on the debate on the merits of the transaction. Sensationalism and sponsoring disagreements in the Group won't deter those who understate the threat to the country from focusing on the issues.

With this I can only borrow from Samson Anyenini #pray

Source: theheraldghana.com
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