Dr. K.K Sarpong, CEO of GNPC
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has flatly rubbished claims by the Minority in Parliament that the corporation had been involved in the purchase of 275 buses by the newly-elected Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay.
Mr. Blay doubles as Board Chairman of the GNPC and his pledge to buy 275 buses for all constituencies of the ruling party has generated controversy, with the Minority issuing a two-week ultimatum to President Akufo-Addo to conduct a forensic audit into the accounts of GNPC.
A pro-NDC group, the Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ), has also petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate Mr. Blay, though it was a purely private deal.
The NDC and Franklin Cudjoe, whose think tank, Imani Africa, continues to rely on Western donors for aid to survive, are leading the public crusade against Mr. Blay’s acquisition of the buses.
In a press release signed by Adam Mutawakilu, Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, on Sunday July 8, the Minority also called for Mr. Blay to step aside to allow for the audit to be conducted thoroughly without any interference.
The release read: “For someone who manages our oil and gas reserves, one would have expected the highest form of modesty and prudence in outlook, however, the unconscionable extravagant purchase of 275 buses for NPP constituency executives after depositing his so-called personal funds of $3 million in an $11.4 million transaction which has sparked national outrage at a time ambulances are in short supply and proceeding further to the congress grounds to share hordes of cash to delegates plus the distribution of tonnes of goodies in the form of branded snacks and other consumables does not only mark a new low in our country’s democratic credentials but demands of us to rise as responsible citizens who care about the future of our dear nation. It’s for this reason that we demand an immediate forensic audit into our country’s hydrocarbons.”
However, the GNPC has denied financing the campaign of Mr. Blay or funding the purchase of the buses.
A statement issued by the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, K.K. Sarpong emphatically said that “ the corporation has a robust financial system that will not allow any official to approve or receive funds to support programmes not set out in its work programme and budget that is approved by Parliament.”
Mr. Blay’s spokesperson, Richard Nyamah had earlier disclosed that the now substantive chairman of the NPP had contracted a loan facility from the Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) to procure the buses to resource the party’s base.
He indicated ahead of the polls that the beneficiary constituencies shall pay for the buses over a two-year period on ‘work and pay’ basis, but despite the explanations, the Minority and IMANI Ghana, have refused make to inquiries at UMB to ascertain whether or not there was any financial arrangement between Mr. Blay and the bank in relation to the procurement of the buses.
By Melvin Tarlue