CSOs demand removal of GNPC Board Chair and CEO over controversial stake sale
Some civil society organisations (CSOs) working on extractives governance in Ghana are calling for the immediate removal of Freddie Blay as Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah as Chief Executive of the GNPC.
The CSOs say their demand stems from the inability of the two to give Ghana better deals between the GNPC and its partners and thereby disregarding significant revenue potential the GNPC holds for the state.
Speaking at a press conference today (May 23, 2023) in Accra, the CSOs made reference to the GNPC's plan to sell a 50 percent stake in Jubilee Holdings Limited (JOHL), which is a subsidiary of the GNPC to PetroSA, disregarding the significant revenue potential it holds for the state.
Abdulkarim Mohammed, the Coordinator for the Economic Governance Platform, speaking on behalf of the CSOs at the press conference expressed concerns about the continued presence of Mr Blay and Mr Danquah in the management of the GNPC.
He said their involvement poses substantial risks to Ghana's interests in Jubilee Holdings Limited.
"We demand the immediate removal of Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah, GNPC's CEO, and Freddie W. Blay, the Board Chairman, from their positions as they have become a threat to Ghana's petroleum sector," stated Mr. Mohammed.
The CSOs are also urging swift political action to address two significant developments in Ghana's petroleum industry.
In a jointly signed statement which was read at the press conference, they mentioned controversies surrounding Aker Energy and AGM operations, as well as the sale of Jubilee Oil Holding Limited's stake in the Deepwater Tano block.
The CSOs allege that Aker Energy attempted to convince GNPC to pay an exorbitant $1.65 billion for shares in offshore petroleum blocks, despite objections raised by the CSOs.
Subsequently, Parliament authorised GNPC to spend $1.1 billion on these blocks.
The statement adds that recent events have resulted in one block being returned to Ghana without cost, while the more promising Pecan field is now under the control of AFC Equity Investment due to Aker's default on a $200 million loan.
Mr. Abdulkarim Mohammed demanded clarification regarding the $1.1 billion borrowed by GNPC and expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of accountability from the Ministry of Energy and other state agencies involved.
Additionally, the CSOs highlighted the sale of a 50 percent stake in Jubilee Oil Holding Limited's interest in the Deepwater Tano block to PetroSA and GNPC's acquisition of a 7 percent stake in the sale of Anadarko's interest in the Jubilee and TEN fields in 2021.
The 2022 PIAC annual report indicates that JOHL's interest generated approximately $290 million in that year alone, despite the amount not being deposited in the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF).
The CSOs include the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA), the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), CSOs Open Licensing Monitoring Group, the Citizen's Movement Against Corruption (CMAC), the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG), Penplusbyte and Oil Watch Ghana.
The rest are the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI), Publish What You Pay (PWYP), the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), IMANI Ghana and Women Aspire.