Minister-designate for Trade and Industry Kobina Tahir Hammond has denied any wrongdoing in the sale of a drill ship belonging to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) in 2001.
He found it worrying that most critics continue to hold him responsible for the transaction when he was only assigned the duty of leading the negotiations just three months after becoming Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum in the Kufuor administration.
Speaking during his vetting on Monday, February 20, the Adansi Asokwa Member of Parliament (MP) explained that notwithstanding the circumstances, he was able to convince the creditors in Paris to reduce the debt from $47 million to $19.5 million for which the drill ship was sold.
He said for that outcome, he should have been conferred with a national award for saving the country over $27 million.
“They were asking for $47 million. Of the $47 million, following my arrangement and my going around and the compromise which the special commissioner states over there, they decided that instead of the $47 million that we had accumulated, they decided to charge $19.5 million.
“I think I need a national award for that. $47 million and we managed to get it to $19.5 million.”
The controversy over the sale of the GNPC drill ship has come up over and over again especially when Mr KT Hammond comes into the fray.
He appeared before the Apau Commission in 2015 over the issue, particularly on the disbursement of about $900,000 as remainder after GNPC’s debt were defrayed from the drill ship sale.
But KT Hammond, at the vetting, said he wants to put paid to the matter because no courts found him guilty over the transaction.
“Mr Chairman, when a report like this is presented to the government, the government comments on the back of the report, and not to make its own findings. That part over there was an addition by the government which had have no reflection in the report presented by Mr. Justice Appau. Actually, it is really unfair,” he said after he was queried by Minority Chief Whip Kwame Governs Agbodza over the $900,000.