The Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee in Parliament has condemned the Akufo-Addo government for attempting to sell the country’s oil shares in Jubilee Oil Holdings (JOHL) through the backdoor after it failed to clandestinely sell it to the Petroleum Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA).
John Abdulai Jinapor, specifically accused, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister of “attempting to forward-sell our future oil lifting due from JOHL to LITASCO (a private company) under very opaque and clandestine processes”, and described it as “most unfortunate”.
This, the NDC Member for Parliament (MP) of Yapei Kusawgu said, was being done “after failing to sell the seven percent (7%) of Ghana’s oil shares held by Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL) to PetroSA of South Africa, the Akufo-Addo government is at it again”.
The Herald has confirmed JOHL as an offshore company registered in the Cayman Islands. It was registered by a private Ghanaian law firm; Minkah-Premo & Co. also known as Akosombo Chambers.
Mr. Jinapor’s reservations about the government’s moves on the offshore company were contained in a statement he issued on Wednesday.
According to him, “For a government that has over-borrowed its way into a state of bankruptcy, the least this government can do is to refrain from further reckless borrowing”.
“This attempt to mortgage the nation’s future oil receipts is highly reprehensible, and all steps must be taken to pull the brakes on this government from their insatiable desire at borrowing at the least opportunity.
“The shares held by JOHL must be transferred to GNPC without further delay.
On Tuesday, the Minority group in Parliament served notice it would file an urgent question upon assumption of parliament for a clarification of the intended divestment of Ghana’s stake in JOHL to PetroSA.
The Minority caucus called on the Akufo-Addo government to, as a matter of urgency, transfer shares held by JOHL to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
The transfer of shares, the Minority argues, will make Ghanaians confident that appropriate oversight is being exercised on the assets adding, it will also go a long way to ensure proper accountability and effective monitoring of the revenues accruing from petroleum resources.
The GNPC under the chairmanship of Freddie Blay, has been working on a transaction to relinquish about 50 percent of shares of JOHL to PetroSA. Mr. Blay has, however, denied any wrongdoing.
Reacting to this claim, the Minority, said apart from filing an urgent question for clarification of this saga, it is concerned with the manner in which the JOHL assets are being held and managed.
The Minority in a statement signed by its leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, claimed that the JOHL revenues are currently being used as a “slush fund” to pursue all manner of business that has not been approved by Parliament under the usual GNPC budget approval process.
“The recent lodgment of $100 million of oil revenues in the accounts of JOHL which sparked concerns about the state being deprived of taxes accruing from these revenues leads credence to our concern,” the statement stated.
“By this statement, the Minority calls on the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia NPP government to transfer the shares held by JOHL to GNPC without delay, in order that Ghanaians can be assured that appropriate oversight is being exercised on these assets by Parliament and other stakeholders. This will only go a long way to ensure proper accountability and effective monitoring of the revenues accruing from our petroleum resources.”
The Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, claimed that GNPC under the Chairmanship of Freddie Blay is working on a transaction to relinquish about 50 percent of the shares of Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited to PetroSA, the state-owned oil company of South Africa.
Even more troubling, according to the Minority, is the Energy Minister’s references in his letter to the Executive Secretary to the President, an attempt to try to refinance GNPC’s current debts by using JOHL’s assets to do so with LITASCO.
The Minority noted that it can presume that the intent is to forward sell JOHL’s production share to raise money.
To this end, they are calling on the Akufo-Addo-led government to transfer the shares held by JOHL to GNPC without delay, in order that Ghanaians can be assured that appropriate oversight is being exercised on these assets by parliament and other stakeholders.
This, they say, will ensure proper accountability and effective monitoring of the revenues accruing from the country’s petroleum resources.