Akufo-Addo Ready For Judgement Debt Commission

A former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has expressed interest and intention to appear before the Judgement Debt Commission to answer questions on the sale of a drill ship to offset the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s (GNPC) indebtedness. Nana Akufo-Addo, who was the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in 2001 when the drill ship, Discoverer 511, was sold has subsequently requested the commission to invite him. The office of the Attorney-General in 2001 drafted the power of attorney that was handed over to the then Deputy Energy Minister, Mr K. T. Hammond, to sell the ship. The then Attorney-General has also been accused of not putting up a defence in the claim by Societe Generale (SG), which resulted in the judgement debt in 2001, although Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, a former Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC, had told the Judgement Debt Commission that he had given the A-G a brief on the matter. According to Mr Mustapha Hamid, the Spokesperson for Nana Akufo-Addo, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flag bearer in the 2012 general election was willing to appear before the commission to answer any question put to him regarding the sale of the drill ship. But Mr Hamid said the commissioner himself must extend an invitation to Nana Akufo-Addo, as was done to Messrs Albert Kan Dapaah, K.T. Hammond and Tsatsu Tsikata. “He (Nana Akufo-Addo) will be in Ghana in the next couple of days or weeks and once he is in town and meets such an invitation on his desk, he will honour it,” Mr Hamid said. He said Nana Akufo-Addo was not worried that his name had come up repeatedly in the matter, adding that it was, indeed, in his interest that such an invitation be extended to him. Kufuor reacts to Tsatsu In a related development, former President John Agyekum Kufuor has castigated Mr Tsikata for making a prejudicial comment on the sale of the controversial drill ship, while the case was still being heard by the Judgement Debt Commission. In a statement issued to the press in reaction to comments passed by Mr Tsikata on the person of the former President, Mr Kufuor said, “It was wrong for Mr Tsikata to assume the role of a judge and pass judgement when the case was still being heard by the sole commissioner.” Former President Kufuor also said the sale of the GNPC drill ship to offset its indebtedness to the French bank, Societe Generale (SG), had been done in the interest of the nation. According to the statement, Mr Kufuor could not be impugned for any wrongdoing in the matter and that Mr Tsikata’s description of Mr Kufuor as a debt collector on behalf of SG was “irresponsible and unwarranted”. Kufuor acted as debt collector Last Tuesday, Mr Tsikata appeared before the commission which is investigating the payment of judgement debts to individuals and institutions and in his testimony said the sale of the drill ship did not give value for money. He accused former President Kufuor of acting as a “debt collector” for SG as far as the GNPC's indebtedness to the bank was concerned. He said certain steps had been taken completely outside the framework of the GNPC law in terms of how it was decided that the French bank should be paid certain monies and the ways in which those monies were paid. “… it looked as if rather unusually, the President of the Republic himself (Kufuor) was becoming the debt collector for SG,” Mr Tsikata said. But the statement, signed by the Spokesperson for the former President, Mr Frank Agyekum, said, “So far as I am concerned, President Kufuor did what he did in the interest of the nation and it is very irresponsible to call him names.” It said the measures taken by the NPP government in restructuring the GNPC were based on advice by a competent committee set up to “clear the mess that had been created at the corporation over the years”. “Former President Kufuor believes his government took the right measures in the sale of the drill ship and urges the sole commissioner to do well to get to the bottom of the matter for the truth to be laid bare. “Until such a time, it will be wrong and reckless for anybody to jump to their own conclusions only to malign others,” it added. Meanwhile, a public relations officer of the commission, Mr George William Dove, has said the commission is still perusing documents that have been received and that it has not got to the bottom of the issue yet.