….Insist They Haven’t Received GNPC Ex-Gratia
The new twist to Kwabena Tahir Hammond’s claims that, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has paid Tsatsu Tsikata and others, some huge ex-gratia packages is that, the astute lawyer, is yet to receive the said money.
Mr. Tsikata’s wife; Esther Cobbah, is also yet to receive her money, contrary to the claims of the ex-Deputy Minister of Energy under the erstwhile John Kufuor administration, popularly called KT Hammond, who is under pressure to account for portions of the US$24 million, which he singlehandedly sold a drillship belonging to the GNPC for.
TK Hammond, claimed that Tsikata was paid an illegal sum of one million cedis, whilst Cobbah, was paid an amount of 600,000 cedis.
But credible information picked up by The Herald’s sources within the GNPC, indicates that, though cheques covering various amounts, have been approved by the Board for Mr. Tsikata and his wife, the two have not received the cheques from the GNPC.
While, Mr. Tsikata, served as Chief Executive of the GNPC, his wife, served as Public Affairs Manager of the GNPC. They both worked for the institution for many years.
It is yet to be confirmed, if the other recipients; Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, Acting Chief Executive and Benjamin
Dagadu, Field Evaluation and Development Manager, now the Deputy Minister for Petroleum, have received theirs.
Few days ago, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa in the Ashanti Region, KT Hammond, made the headlines accusing, Mr. Tsikata and his wife, of collecting huge amounts from the GNPC, when they didn’t have to, calling the action “criminal”.
Though, the so-called payments have become topical, Mr. Tsikata, has remained mute leaving people wondering if he has any plans to seek legal redress at the court to clear his name.
However, Esther Cobbah, the former GNPC Corporate Affairs head who now owns and runs the Strategic Communication Africa (Stracomm) has denied receiving any money from her former employers although she is owed significant amounts of money by the Corporation where she served for years.
In a statement issued in Accra yesterday, Esther Cobbah, said the allegations being made against her were improper and that “no weapon fashioned against me by the making of such unjustifiable attacks will prosper.”
The GNPC, issued a statement Monday confirming that the Board of the Corporation approved the payments to be made to the four former employees of the Corporation.
The Board, described the payments as ex-gratia benefits to the former employees, who had worked tirelessly for the Corporation and whose appointments were terminated between 2000 and 2001.
“The four served the Corporation for periods ranging between 12 and 21 years. They were all removed from office in 2000 and 2001, under circumstances that did not allow for the payment of their respective accumulated separation entitlements.
“The Board of Directors of the Corporation, after in-depth review of the situation, concluded that the payment of the end-of-service benefits to these management personnel, who had made invaluable contributions to the development of the Corporation, is a valid obligation. The Board took the position that meeting this obligation, however belatedly, is the right thing to do,” the statement quoted the Board as saying.
However, the GNPC statement, did not disclose the exact amount paid to the four employees.
But in a twist to the GNPC tale, Ms Cobbah, has denied ever receiving the cash said to have been approved and paid by the Board of the Corporation.
Chronicling her long years of service at the GNPC and the circumstances under which she was dismissed, Ms Cobbah, said in her statement that she was owed huge sums of money in entitlements.
“I worked in various capacities for GNPC from 1989 when I set up the Public Affairs Department of the Corporation, including being Public Affairs Manager. In 1999 I was sent on secondment to the West African Gas Pipeline project as the External Affairs Manager. I set up the External Affairs Department of the project with staff from the four countries- Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana. I was in that role when, in May 2001, I went with the Project Manager, an employee of Chevron, to a meeting at the office of the then Minister of Energy of Ghana. Quite unexpectedly, the Minister announced that the Government was removing me from the project,” the statement said.
“To this day my entitlements, including my end of service benefits, my Provident Fund entitlements as well as the arrears of remuneration for my period of secondment to the West African Gas Pipeline project, have not been paid. I was, however, given assurances since 2009 that GNPC would meet its obligations.
Most recently, the Chief Executive of GNPC, informed me that the Board of GNPC, had resolved to settle these matters and the Corporation, would be paying me what I am entitled to. No payment has been made to date,” she said.