Govt coercing GNPC to seek $431m loan without approval - Minority alleges
The Minority in Parliament has accused the Presidency of “coercing and compelling” the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to seek a $431 million loan agreement from Lukoil International Trading and Supply Company (LITASCO) SA, a Swiss company operating refineries and retail network in Europe.
It said the corporation was being forced to raise the facility from LITASCO as collateral for oil in the TEN oil field for the next five-and-a-half years.
“Indeed, all the oil in the TEN Oil Field has been encumbered, including royalties and our carried and participating interests will be escrowed into this company.
Every year, a minimum of 3.8 million barrels of crude oil will be given to LITASCO for this loan,” it said.
Speaking to the press in Parliament last Wednesday, the Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee, John Jinapor, said: “This is a government that received over $1.4 billion of oil receipts in 2022, the highest ever.
“And despite receiving this huge oil revenue from our oil sales, you want to take $431 million today and mortgage our future for the next five-and-a-half years and escrow the whole of TEN field oil,” he alleged.
The MP also alleged that per a memo intercepted by the Minority, the Presidency called a meeting on September 14, 2023, at 11 a.m. and directed the GNPC to seek board approval to raise the $431 million without parliamentary approval.
Mr Jinapor said the directive from the Presidency was against a resolution Parliament took on the matter.
He explained that just before Parliament rose in August this year, the Committee on Mines and Energy, under the chairmanship of Samuel Atta Akyea, submitted a report of the committee on the 2023 work programme of the GNPC.
He said one of the key issues that came up for consideration was a request by the GNPC to raise an amount of $620 million in the form of a loan facility from LITASCO SA.
He said Parliament decided that it could not approve that amount in the GNPC’s work programme.
Mr Jinapor said Parliament was explicit that the corporation should lay the terms and conditions of the intended loan, in accordance with Article 181 of the Constitution, for the House to consider the same and make a determination.
“To utmost shock, we have come across a document that the Presidency is using coercive force and the power of the Presidency to compel the GNPC to proceed and execute this loan agreement without parliamentary approval,” he alleged.
He pointed out that some of the board members kicked against such illegality.
Mr Jinapor said under the IMF agreement, covered entities, such as the GNPC, did not have the authority or the permission to raise such loans.
“And so, to clandestinely and secretly try to raise a colossal amount of $431 million without parliamentary approval and on the quiet smirks of an illegality and all of us must rise against that,” he said.
“What the Presidency is doing is an unconstitutional, unlawful and blatant disregard to the directive and resolution of Parliament,” he said.
Mr Jinapor, therefore, urged the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNPC and the board to decline the directive from the Presidency.
“If you proceed with this directive, you will be committing an illegality.
You do not have that mandate and that power to enter into such an agreement without parliamentary approval,” he said.