GNPC Chairman Freddie Blay threatens to seek legal redress against CSOs over claims
The Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Freddie Blay has threatened to take legal action in response to claims made by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that accused him of involvement in a "scandalous transaction" to offload 50% of GNPC's stake in the Deepwater Tano Contract Area (DWT).
In a statement vehemently denying the claims, Mr Blay said the statement issued by some 29 civil society organisations (CSOs) working on extractives governance in Ghana were baseless and without any factual basis.
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He added that the claims suggesting a divestment of the State's beneficial interest were entirely false and misleading.
"The call for my resignation, as well as that of the CEO, in relation to this matter is deeply regrettable and unfortunate. CSOs are expected to protect the interests and rights of civil society, and seek the public good and national interest. Instead, the 29 CSOs that have called for my resignation, chose to engage hastily in this matter without seeking the facts, and rather misinform the public, in pursuit of ulterior motives and vested interest. This is detrimental to the public good, and the national interest," the statement said.
"I have taken due note of the libellous statements against me by my detractors including the said CSOs, and reserve the right to take legal action against these organizations and anyone engaged in this diabolic exercise of destroying my name and reputation".
Addressing the issue of the supposed sale of GNPC shares, Mr. Blay emphasized that the transfer of shares is governed by Ghana's Companies Act 2019 (Act 992), and strict procedures are followed.
He invited his accusers and the public to educate themselves on the process of share transfers in Ghana to discern the truth from falsehoods. Mr. Blay stressed that shares of a company were not commodities to be traded casually and dismissed the claims as uninformed and malicious.
He also addressed the matter regarding the Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA). He explained that in 2006, the Government of Ghana, represented by the Minister for Energy, GNPC, and other companies, including Anadarko Offshore Holding Company, LLC (AOHC), executed a Petroleum Agreement (PA) for the Deepwater Tano Contract Area (DWT). He said PetroSA subsequently acquired the shares of Sabre Oil and Gas Limited (Sabre) in 2012, legally assuming Sabre's equity interests in the PA.
Mr. Blay pointed out that PetroSA, as a party to the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) relating to the DWT, had the right to pre-empt any divestments and acquire participating interests.
He revealed ongoing discussions with PetroSA regarding the acquisition of a 7% participating interest held by Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL), a company formed by AOHC. The proposed compromise he said involved a 50:50 split of the shares, subject to confirmation and the advice of the Minister for Energy.
In light of the allegations and calls for his resignation by the CSOs, Mr. Blay expressed disappointment in the 29 CSOs for engaging in hasty actions without seeking the facts.
He stressed the importance of investigating and ascertaining the truth before succumbing to misinformation. Mr. Blay further extended an invitation to all CSOs and individuals to verify the facts and welcomed open dialogue.
Blay concluded by addressing the "libelous statements" made against him, stating that he reserved the right to take legal action against the organizations and individuals involved in tarnishing his reputation.