IMANI Africa justifies stance on Aker Energy oil discovery

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Franklin Cudjoe

Policy think tank, IMANI Africa says there is no need for it to apologise over its recent comments on the Aker Energy oil discovery in Ghana.

IMANI at a press briefing indicated that the country could lose 30 billion dollars due to the nature of the agreement covering the discovery and pointed to a potential conflict of interest involving GNPC Boss, Dr K.K Sarpong.

Government has denied the allegations and Dr K.K Sarpong and Fuel Trade have asked for an apology.

However, speaking to the issue, President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe said they do not have to apologise for asking questions about the deal.

“What are we apologizing for? For asking a question? How do you apologize for asking a question from which someone has provided an answer? It is not a falsehood at all,” Mr. Cudjoe said.

In justifying the position of the policy think thank, Mr. Cudjoe said: “First of all, let us know that, the Petroleum Agreement expires in 2036 but the programme of development that Aker submitted is based on an extension of the term of the current concession they had [from 2036 to 2049] and that is when Aker projects that they will cease production of the wells.”

Dr. KK Sarpong had early on asked IMANI Africa to apologise for peddling falsehood against him over Ghana’s agreement with Aker Energy.

IMANI had alleged that Dr. Sarpong had ties with Fuel Trade, a partner agency of Aker Energy citing a clear case of possible conflict of interest against him.

But in a statement, KK Sarpong insisted that the allegations levelled against him were untrue because the involvement of Fuel Trade in the Aker agreement was sealed even before he was appointed.

“I wish to state emphatically that neither I nor my family own Fuel Trade as claimed by IMANI Ghana. Consequently, I, Dr.KK Sarpong, Chief Executive of GNPC cannot be accused of conflict of interest in dealing with Aker Energy as stated by IMANI Ghana. Indeed, Fuel Trade’s 2% stake in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points Block was acquired in 2014 long before my appointment in 2017 as Chief Executive of GNPC.”

Describing the act as unacceptable, he further chided IMANI for not doing proper background checks before publicly accusing him.

Mr. Sarpong thus demanded a retraction and a subsequent apology from the policy think thank or it risks facing a possible legal action.

“It is surprising to me that IMANI Ghana, a think tank of its sort could not carry out due diligence on the ownership of Fuel Trade Limited before arriving at its erroneous conclusion, causing me serious embarrassment and jeopardizing my standing in the international business community. No doubt, I have incurred immense economic, political and social coast by IMANI Ghana’s unjustifiable claim.

“This, I find unacceptable and hereby demand a retraction of the said claim and an unreserved apology from IMANI Ghana and its Deputy Director, Mr. Kofi Bentil within two weeks. The retraction should be given as much prominence as the press conference. Meanwhile, I reserve my rights to seek legal redress.”

Source: citinewsroom.com

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