Some individuals have petitioned against the Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta and former Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu for their roles in dubiously cooking a deal that robbed Ghana of a significant stake in the crude oil concession operated by Aker Energy.
Ken Ofori-Atta and Peter Amewu had reportedly smuggled private company, Quad Energy into the deal and used it to knock off as much as 39% from the stakes of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
The petitioners had wanted the Parliamentary Appointment Committee to stall the appointment of Ken Ofori-Atta and Peter Amewu until they answered the lingering questions around their reported involvement in shortchanging Ghana in the Aker Energy deal.
However, the committee with the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) holding sway, had brushed the petition under the carpet and had approved the appointment of Peter Amewu. Ken Ofori-Atta is still outstanding because he was flown out of Ghana to the USA due to an alleged complication from his COVID-19 infection.
Critics and civil society groups have pointed out the conflict of interest of Ken Ofori-Atta in both the Quad Energy and Aker Energy, with both directors of Quad Energy being linked directly to him. One of the directors of Quad Energy, David Tanoh Adomakoh is also on the board of Aker Energy, and he was reportedly seconded onto the board by Ken Ofori-Atta.
In the questionable oil deal, as explained by the petition, Ofori-Atta got John Peter Amewu to use his position as Minister of Energy to force GNPC to shed some 39% of its stake in the country’s oil to AGM/Aker Energy, so that Aker Energy would adopt Quad Energy, the company linked to Ofori-Atta, as its local partner.
AGM/Aker was also granted half a billion dollars in tax waivers, just so that Quad Energy would be adopted, according to the petitioners.
Quad Energy is credited to David Tanoh Adomakoh, who is an uncle to Joseph Babatunde Ampah. Babatunde Ampah is a Co-director of Quad Energy. Interestingly, Babtunde Ampah is a former Vice President of Databank Financial Services, a private company owned by Ken Ofori-Atta.
It is suspected that Ofori-Atta is the actual owner of Quad Energy and had used the long rigmarole of David Adomakoh and Babatunde Ampah a shrewd camouflage to cover-up.
Otherwise, there was no logical reason why Quad Energy came into the picture of the AKEREnergy deal. Policy think-tank IMANI Africa has written long exposures on why it thinks Quad Energy could be a front.
The petitioners said Amewu and Ofori-Atta set up the shady deal in April 2019, by renegotiating Ghana’s petroleum agreement with AGM/Aker Energy. The two had written a joint memorandum to the Akufo-Addo cabinet asking to be allowed to renegotiate the agreement.
President Akufo-Addo had hurriedly approved their decision and asked them to forward their memo to Parliament, which was then dominated by the NPP, for approval.
In April 2019, Amewu and Ofori-Atta then authored another joint memo to Parliament asking to renegotiate the petroleum agreement. Parliament per what the two Ministers were proposing, observed that the additional participating interest of GNPC had been reduced from 15% in the original agreement to 3% in the renegotiated Agreement.
Also, the 24% Commercial Interest of Explorco, a subsidiary of GNPC had been abandoned.
The Committee expressed concern about the decision to reduce the total interest of GNPC, especially considering GNPC’s long-term vision of becoming an independent Oil Operator.
The committee in the circumstance recommended to the House to request the Minister to renegotiate an increase in the GNPC Additional Interest from 3% up to 10%.
“We are of the candid opinion that the repudiation of the earlier agreement and the effect of the review memorandum by the Nominee and colleague with the support of Cabinet was to path the way for the introduction of a new company to become the local partner of AGM/AKER.
“Information available to us shows that Quad Energy Ltd is closely associated with the Nominee who smuggled them in as the local content partner with a 5%,” the petitioners said of Ofori-Atta.
As the renegotiation had gone through, Quad Energy is currently the local partner for AGM/Aker.
The Petitioners point out that there is no evidence whatsoever that Quad Energy did any work to merit a whopping 5% stake allocated to it. “In fact, Quad Energy was registered on April 10, 2019, and about two weeks in existence when the Nominee wrote to Cabinet for the amendment of the 2013 agreement,” read the petition.
By April 26, 2019, when Cabinet, led by the President who is an uncle to Ofori-Atta referred his [Ofori-Atta’s] memo to Parliament, Quad Energy was then only 19 days old. By the time Parliament effected the conditional approval for the amendment on May 5, 2019, Quad Energy was 25 days old.
Effectively within 25 days, Quad Energy went from a non-existent company to becoming a local partner holding 5% of the biggest oil field in the country.
” It is not possible that the promoters of Quad Energy, a 19-day old company with zero track record in the industry, merited the award of the 5% of Ghana’s oil,” the petitioners said.
the Petitioners add, “Even though in the memorandum the nominee presented to this august House for consideration and approval, he didn’t mention the name of the local company which was going to benefit from the new proposed 5% from the previous 2.5% equity in the oil deal. Our checks have established that the said company is Quad Energy.”
“It would be interesting to find out from the Nominee how Quad Energy “acquired” 5% of the project. Did they pay for the stake in the company? are they being carried along by Aker?”
According to the petitioners, the most bizarre thing is that whilst the Ofori-Atta and Amewu were in a hurry to increase the interest of Quad Energy from 2.5% to 5%, they gave away Government’s addition interest under the excuse that the continuous ownership of the equity of GNPC would expose the corporation to financial risk.
“The nominee and the Former Finance Minister acted jointly together and their failure to secure governments additional interest in the oil deal and coupled with that fact that he ought to have known that his colleague Minister had an affiliation with Quad Energy is unpardonable,” wrote the petitioners.
“The excuses that culminated in the granting of over $500 million tax exemptions for Aker/AGM was largely due to misrepresentations the nominee made to Parliament. We are convinced that the nominee and the former finance minister acted together, and both are not deserving of re-appointment,” the petition said of Amewu.