Decision of Board Chair of GNPC to sign official letters strange – Ben Boakye

Ben Boakye is Executive Director of ACEP

The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy ACEP, Ben Boakye has expressed shock about reports that the Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC), Freddie Blay wrote and signed letters that sought to allocate interest in Ghana’s oil fields to Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA).

The GNPC Board Chairman wrote to PetroSA offering it an equal split in the interest held by GNPC’s subsidiary Jubilee Oil Holdings Ltd (JOHL).

According to Mr. Boakye, if properly approved the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah, should have handled such a transaction.

Speaking in an interview on TV3’ Ghana Tonight on Tuesday, May 23, Mr. Boakye said, “It is surprising to find that in such a serious organization, you would have the Board Chair directly writing and signing letters. One would have assumed that once there is a CEO, the CEO will be the one doing those operational leg works and doing the signing, even if the decision is taken.”

The Energy Governance Professional noted that this does not augur well for corporate governance in the GNPC, “this really points to certain collusion at some level within the organization to really undermine the broader decision of the organization to do this. And it is becoming clear that not the entire Management or Board was involved. Even for the Board Chair to take those decisions without reference to any law that allows him to activate such preemptions is weird and I found that shocking.”

It would be recalled that on Tuesday, the Energy Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh directed Mr Blay to withdraw the offer.

“The Corporation should cease any further negotiations with PetroSA on matters of PetroSA’s intended pre-emption of the JOHL stakes. The Government of Ghana acquired the stakes with State funds. The Government of Ghana has informed the South African Government through their Minister responsible for Natural Resources and Energy in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the African Energy Week, 2022 in Cape Town, that Ghana would not approve any pre-emption of the JOHL stakes,” Dr. Prempeh wrote in a letter addressed to the GNPC.

Subsequently, at a news conference, a representative of 29 Civil Society Organisations in the Extractive industry, Abdulkarim Mohammed demanded the dismissal of Freddy Blay and GNPC CEO Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah.

Meanwhile, Mr. Blay has denied any wrongdoing. He says he acted in the best interest of the country.

He, therefore, does not see any justification for the calls on him to resign.

“Possibly, I could be fired, but I don’t see any reason they are saying I should resign about this issue. I have done nothing wrong,” the former Chairman of the New Patriotic Party said.

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