IMANI accuses KK Sarpong of conflict of interest in US$4.4bn Aker Energy deal

BY: Maxwell Adombilla Akalaare

Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, has accused the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Dr K. K. Sarpong, of engaging in a conflict of interest situation in a US$4.4 billion petroleum agreement between Ghana and Aker Energy Ghana Limited.

At a press conference in Accra Thursday morning, the Vice President of IMANI Africa, Mr Kofi Bentil, alleged that Dr Sarpong “and his family own Fueltrade,” one of the local partners of the Deepwater Tano / Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) Petroleum Agreement, with a two per cent stake

Aker Energy is the operator of the field with a 50 per cent stake and recently submitted a US$4.4 billion plan of development to the government for approval to allow for development and production activities to start.

With Dr Sarpong being the CEO of GNPC, another partner of the DWT/CTP with a 10 per cent stake, Mr Bentil said it was ethically wrong for a company he and his family own to also be a partner of the field.

“It does not look right. We put it out here publicly because we want clarification.

“We are not against Ghanaian participation in our oil industry but protecting the public purse includes avoiding such conflicts,” he said at the press conference.

“It is a zero sum game; what Ghana has, Aker does not have. So, if it is true that the company is negotiating with itself or there are powers on both sides, I think it is a matter of concern and we need some answers concerning that one,” he added.

Mr Bentil and IMANI also accused the government of treating Imani with kid gloves, alleging that the company has “been calling the shots” in most of the key decisions since buying out Hess Petroleum in 2017.

He called on the government to be firm in dealing with Aker Energy, noting that most of the decisions that should have been taken by Parliament have been unilaterally taken by Aker Energy in a manner that raises eyebrows.

Aker Energy is 50 per cent owned by Aker of Norway, leaving the other 50 per cent for Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekk through his private firm.