Haruna Iddrisu & Ato Forson Refute GNPC-Aker Energy Bribery Meeting-As ASEPA Boss Runs From His 27-Minute Interview With The Herald

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Haruna Iddrisu, Ato Forson and Mensah Thompson Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Haruna Iddrisu, Ato Forson and Mensah Thompson

Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam Constituency in the Central Region, Cassiel Ato Forson and the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, have both denied the claims of the Executive Secretary of Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), that they facilitated a meeting where money exchanged hands in the US$1.65 billion Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited ongoing transaction.

Mensah Thompson, had in an interview with The Herald, mentioned the two as having facilitated a meeting between him and agents of Aker Energy and GNPC; who are the sellers and the buyers of 37percent stake in Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited and 70percent stake in the South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) operated by AGM.

In separate reactions to The Herald's publication last Friday, in which their names were mentioned as having called Mensah Thompson; the ASEPA boss, Haruna Iddrisu and Ato Forson, were emphatic that they never spoke to the ASEPA boss as reported under the banner headline "CSO Names Haruna Iddrisu and Ato Forson in GNPC Bribery Scandal."

Mensah Thompson, has since fled from his 27 minutes interview denying he spoke to The Herald, saying "we wish to state categorically that the Hon. Ato Forson has NOT facilitated any meeting between ASEPA and agents of GNPC or Aker", adding "the publication is NOT only false and malicious, but also in furtherance of a personal vendetta".

"This clearly shows that the paper is not interested in a fair or professional reportage, but only interested in smearing people. We are therefore encouraging all the MPs, whose reputations have been tarnished in the said publication to seek legal redress", Mr Thompson claimed.

In a statement posted on his Facebook wall in reaction to the publication, he wrote "any journalist worth their salt would by first instinct at least contact the said MPs for their responses, if indeed they have received any such information".

While, Ato Forson was the first to charge on the publication, saying "please, disregard this defamatory story about me. I have never facilitated any meeting between the parties. Publishers have 24 hours to retract and apologise, giving it the same prominence they gave the original story, failing which, I will drag them to court! Thank You", Haruna Iddrisu also fired "allegation of bribery against me is malicious".

On the official Facebook wall of Parliament, Haruna wrote"My attention has been drawn to a publication on the front page of the Friday, September 3 2021 edition of The Herald newspaper. The said publication was under the banner headline "CSO Names Haruna Iddrisu and Ato Forson in GNPC Bribery Scandal."

"I wish to place on record that the publication under reference is spurious, malicious, baseless and a figment of the imagination of the "ghost" writer. The fact that the writer mysteriously omitted his by-line shows his or her malevolent intent and points to the fact that the publication is a fabrication. I wonder why the writer will want to hide under the cloak of anonymity if he or she were confident of his news story".

He added "for purposes of emphasis, I have at no time participated in or been privy to the issues, dealings and processes that have been alleged against me. The said publication is nothing but falsehood calculated at tarnishing my hard-won reputation and bring me into disrepute and public opprobrium. It also exposes the general lack of knowledge and understanding of the workings of parliament".

I entreat all well-meaning and discerning members of the public to read in-between the lines and see this publication as exactly what it is – malicious, mischievous and a pack of lies. I also implore my colleague members of the NDC Caucus in Parliament to disregard this attempt by what is obviously the work of unseen hands to create disfavor and disaffection for me personally. It is also a premeditated effort to place a wedge among us as the Minority Group, cause disunity within our Caucus and make us incapable of holding government accountable for its policies and decisions – which is one of our key responsibilities.

I demand that The Herald retracts the said publication and render an unqualified apology with the same prominence as the said malicious publication within 24 hours failing which notice is hereby served that I have instructed my lawyers to assess all possible grounds that this publication offers for a legal suit against The Herald newspaper, the writer of the story and all the hidden faces behind such a wicked and politically motivated publication against my person".

The two MPs, have since gotten their lawyer, James Mensah Kulley, to write a rejoinder to this paper reiterating their demand for a retraction of the story.

But a statement written on behalf of Mr Forson by his lawyer, James Mensah Kulley, who is also counsel for the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, said "it is evident from the publication referred to that they were made recklessly and maliciously without regard to the truth, with the vicious intent to destroy the hard earned reputations and to bring their names into disrepute, ridicule and public hatred.

"I am by this letter demanding and this I hereby do that you publish a withdrawal of the publication and render an unqualified apology to my clients on or before 6th September 2021.

"Should you fail to publish a withdrawal of the said publication and render an unqualified apology to my client on or before the 6th of September 2021, I have their further instructions without recourse to you, to commence legal action against you and your publishers to redeem the image of my clients."

In an earlier statement reacting to the publication, Mr Iddrisu, who is also Tamale South lawmaker, said the publication is nothing but falsehood calculated at tarnishing his hard-won reputation and bring him into disrepute and public opprobrium.

"I wish to place on record that the publication under reference is spurious, malicious, and baseless and a figment of the imagination of the 'ghost' writer. The fact that the writer mysteriously omitted his by-line shows his or her malevolent intent and points to the fact that the publication is a fabrication. I wonder why the writer will want to hide under the cloak of anonymity if he or she were confident of his news story. "For purposes of emphasis, I have at no time participated in or been privy to the issues, dealings and processes that have been alleged against me. The said publication is nothing but falsehood calculated at tarnishing my hard-won reputation and bring me into disrepute and public opprobrium. It also exposes the general lack of knowledge and understanding of the workings of parliament.

"I entreat all well-meaning and discerning members of the public to read in-between the lines and see this publication as exactly what it is – malicious, mischievous and a pack of lies. I also implore my colleague members of the NDC Caucus in Parliament to disregard this attempt by what is obviously the work of unseen hands to create disfavor and disaffection for me personally.

"It is also a premeditated effort to place a wedge among us as the Minority Group, cause disunity within our Caucus and make us incapable of holding government accountable for its policies and decisions – which is one of our key responsibilities.

"I demand that The Herald retracts the said publication and render an unqualified apology with the same prominence as the said malicious publication within 24 hours failing which notice is hereby served that I have instructed my lawyers to assess all possible grounds that this publication offers for a legal suit against The Herald newspaper, the writer of the story and all the hidden faces behind such a wicked and politically motivated publication against my person."

Energy Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, requested parliament to make an approval that will enable the GNPC to purchase stakes in oil blocks of Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum.

This transaction has divided the front of civil society organizations in Ghana with some saying it is bad, whereas others are for it. The CSOs, believe that the valuation used a higher value of about 65 dpb, and that Ghana is not likely to achieve that price in the medium to long term and therefore, it makes the transaction disadvantageous to the country.

The Herald, last week dropped the names of the Deputy Chief Executive of GNPC, Joseph Dadzie and the Country Director of the Aker Energy, Kadija Amoah, as acting on behalf of both the buyer and the seller moving from office to office together to silence the CSOs.

Among the CSOs the two met; included Mensah Thompson of the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) and Executive Secretary at the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), Duncan Amoah.

Aside many Civil Societies, some Members of Parliament as well as Ghanaian journalists have been mentioned as compromised hence "playing soft ball" on the transaction described as worse the botched Agyapa Royalties transaction and the PDS consortium deal.

But whilst, Mensah Thompson in an interview with The Herald disclosed he was given GHC10, 000 by Joseph Dadzie and KadijaAmoah after discussions with him at the car park of a friend's office whose name he won't disclose, Duncan Amoah, told The Herald he was given GHC30,000 by the two who had come to his office in the company of Evans Mensa, a journalist with Joy FM.

Evans has told The Herald that he does some consultancy work for Aker Energy, that his employers; the management of Multimedia, have been informed about this and they allowed him to do this which, includes working on Aker Energy's media engagements.

He persistently described as "false" Duncan Amoah's statement that he was in his office with Joseph Dadzie and Kadija Amoah to elicit COPEC's support and also give him money. But Duncan insisted that this meeting took place.

While, ASEPA's Mensah Thompson, who described the money from GNPC and Aker Energy as "something small" appears to have spent the GHc10,000, as he virtually kept jumping around the question when The Herald called about the meeting and the fact that money exchanged hands, COPEC's Duncan Amoah, insists the money was available and could be produced on demand.

Both Duncan Amoah and Mensah Thompson separately told The Herald, they were not the only ones that Joseph Dadzie and KadijaAmoah met and gave money to.

Duncan in particular, opined that Steve Manteaw, got more than everyone, hence his spirited defense of the deal against the position of Ben Boakye of African Center for Energy Policy and Bright Simons of the IMANI Ghana, demanding transparency and accountability ahead of GNPC forking out over US$1 billion dollars to invest in unverified and unquantified oil blocks.

More to come!

Source: www.theheraldgh.com