More on Tsatsu Tsikata's World of Corruption and Cronyism

Tue, 17 Aug 2010 Source: Lamptey, Bernard

Bernard Lamptey

His formula is as certain as E=MC2. Only this formula begets disaster. Oil +

Cronyism = Corruption. Mentional “oil and corruption” and what countries come to

mind? Soon, we fear, Ghana will be added to that ignoble list, and only one

person would be responsible for that enlistment – Tsatsu Tsikata. Until you see

his antics, you are doomed to believe he has Ghana’s interest at heart while he

laughs all the way to the bank as you work.

You have heard about Strategic Oil and Gas (Stratoil) and the $2 million in

shady payments he received from MODEC, the FPSO contractor claiming it was for

legitimate business. Well the web of cronyism is now known to extend to other

sectors of the petroleum industry and the Jubilee project. All this while he

manages to fool others to hit the streets to demonstrate at the Castle naively

believing they are championing a cause beneficial to Ghana.

We know Tsatsu owns 50% of the British Virgin islands-based Stratoil. What we do

not know is who owns the other 50%, and every chance of finding out has been

nibbed in the bud because records of that ignoble company has been wiped clean

to avoid detection. Talk about “legitimate business.” But we know that Stratoil

has an office located at 9 Lexington Apartments, 40 City Road, London and a

director called John Kenny.

Well it just so happens that Mr. John Kenny is also the director for a company

called Petro-Africa Limited, which is registered in London and shares the same

address with Stratoil. Another Petro-Africa director is a man by the name of

Yousuf Ibrahim of Dara Salamm Company. You may recall that Dara Salaam was

proposed by Modec as its local partner in the Jubilee Field FPSO contract, and

had things gone well, would have owned 5% of the $900 million vessel, the oil

super tanker contracted for the next 25 years to store and process all the oil

from the Jubilee Field before it is sold on the international markets. Get ready

to connect some dots.

Now it turns out that this same Petro-Africa, the company directed by two

Tsikata cronies, and which shares an office with Tsikata’s Stratoil in London,

is also a shareholder in a company registered on April 19, 2010 in the state of

Delaware in the United States. That company, Ghana Gas Gathering International

(GGGI) located at 1209 Orange Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801, is owned by

Trinidad National Gas Company, GNPC, and Petro-Africa. Have you connected the

dots yet? If this GGGI is supposed to be a bilateral endeavor between Ghana and

Trinidad and Tobago, why are the two countries partnering with a private company

owned and directed by Tsatsu’s closest cronies at a time when he is advising the

president on energy matters. GGGI is believed to have been established to take

advantage of opportunities in the mid-stream gas business in Ghana.

As reported before, the pipeline to bring the Jubilee Field gas to Ghana was

inexplicably delayed. Was it so delayed to wait for Tsatsu to conceive his

sinister plan before tabling the project? Do Ghanaians know that the delay in

the gas pipeline project has cost Ghanaians $1 million a day? Do you smell

“causing financial loss to the state?” Does Tsikata now have his hands in the

gas pipeline pie? Guess who else is on the mid-stream gas business? You guessed

it, Modec, the company that has paid Tsatsu $2 million with another $3 million

on the way. It gets more interesting. Remember the Keta oil block that was

hastily approved in Parliament when the opposition boycotted the arrest of Nana

Darkwa? That block went to a partnership including Mitsui of Japan, a sister

company of – ready? Modec. So to those of you following blindly behind Tsatsu

Tsikata, it is hoped that one of these days, you would wake up one morning to

discover that you have been screwed.

Here is another instance of Tsatsu’s cronyism. Of all the marketing companies in

Ghana, how is it that the one company to land the public relations contract for

GNPC is Strategic Communications (StratComm) a company owned by none other than

Tsatsu’s wife Esther Cobbah. Was that contract opened to a bidding process? For

a guy that was in jail two years ago, he now has his tentacles in nearly all

facets of the budding Ghana oil industry. This explains why Tsatsu declined

every official position offered to him so that he can operate behind the scenes.

So are we the only ones seeing this or Ghanaian simply don’t care?

Now because of one person’s greed, all of Ghana could potentially wait until

next year before first oil. This comes as a result of World Bank and IFC

launching an investigation into the mysterious award of the FPSO contract to

Modec, and the resulting $2 million in payments to Tsatsu Tsikata. Additionally,

Multinational Insurance Guarantee Agency (MIGA) has suspended its financing of

the insurance covering the $900 million vessel.

If one thing is crystal clear, it is that Tsatsu Tsikata does not work for

nothing. So as he continues to earn frequent flyer miles traveling all over the

world in search of funding to buy Kosmos’ stake in the Jubilee Field for the

Chinese, one can only imagine what side deals he has concocted with the Chinese

for him to be so adamant. We know GNPC is intending to buy the Kosmos stake for

the Chinese because not only does Ghana not have the technical know-how to

manage the stake, the nation does not have $4 billion to purchase it.

When Ghana has to rely on the same Kosmos to pay for a portion of her 3.5% share

of all developmental and production cost, how in the world would we be able to

afford almost 30% of those costs? Loan payments on $4 billion plus interest,

along with the higher portion of development and production costs would be way

too much for Ghana to bear especially when first oil may be significantly

delayed due to the World Bank/IFC investigations. This would all but bankrupt

the nation.

Now back to the ignoble list of countries mismanaging their oil, Ghana appears

headed onto that list not because Ghanaians are not capable nor Ghanaians are

susceptible to the so-called oil curse. Ghana is headed onto that ignoble list

because of one person only – Tsatsu Tsikata. Our only collective culpability is

in our apathy. We see someone steering our ship into an iceberg, and what do we

do? Nothing. Stay tuned.

Bermard Lamptey


Columnist: Lamptey, Bernard