GNPC deal: You are being disingenuous, unfair to me – Manteaw to CSOs

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Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Dr Steve Manteaw has denied allegations that he secretly recorded a meeting held by some Civil Society Organization (CSOs) in relation to the planned acquisition of stakes in Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum Ghana oil blocks by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

He said he was not part of the meeting held by the CSOs hence it was not possible for him to have recorded and leaked to the media.

Speaking in exclusive interview with 3news.com on Saturday August 14, Dr Manteaw said he had a fundamental disagreement with the position taken by the CSOs on the agreement therefore he chose not to attend the meeting.

If he did, he said his views were not going to have any effect because he is the only person who has openly disagreed with his colleague CSOs on the matter.

“Because of the divergent position I hold, I did not attend the meeting the CSOs organized which recording has been leaked and therefore couldn’t be the one who leaked that recording. So those calling me names and describing me as a mole are being disingenuous and unfair to me,” Dr Manteaw said.

The Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye, has accused him of lacking principles for openly expressing his dissenting position on the deal.

Mr Boakye raised issues with the decision by Dr Manteaw when he went public with his comment to rather informing his colleague CSO activist in the meetings they had.

In a Facebook post, Mr Boakye said “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.”

GNPC, through its GNPC Explorco, is allowed to participate in the upstream petroleum sector and it plans to purchase a 70 percent stake in the South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited and a 37 percent stake in the Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited.

This moves appears to have divided the front of the CSOs.

Below is his full post…

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.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana