Sober KT Hammond Back From Self-Imposed Exile

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Says He Visited UK High Court

Ex-Deputy Minister of Energy, Kwabena Tahir Hammond, best known for his abrasive and hotheaded manners, has returned from self-imposed exile and announced his readiness to provide answers to many lingering questions in the 2001 controversial sale of Discovery 511 Drillship, belonging to Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

According to the ex-Deputy Minister of Energy, sooner than later, The Herald and other media houses lashing at him in searching of the truth and other details of the US$24 million transactions, will be put to shame, when he appears before the Judgment Debts Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau.

Mr. K.T Hammond, who sounded unusually sober, announced his return to Ghana from the United Kingdom (UK), in an interview he granted Accra-based Asempa FM, last Friday.

He unceremoniously left town many weeks ago, after his name and that of ex-Energy Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah, popped up at Judgment Debt Commission in the sale of the GNPC Drillship in 2001 during the John Kufuor administration, to settle a so-called US$19.5 million judgment debt slapped on GNPC by a UK High Court on behalf of Societe Generale, a French bank.

Prior to leaving Ghana, K.T. Hammond in a fit of hysteria, stormed the Old Parliament House building in Accra, where Judgment Commission sits, asking to be allowed to testify.

But he was told he would be called as and when he was needed.

His ex-boss, Mr. Kan-Dapaah, also stormed the Commission with a letter, saying he was ready to appear and testify.

The New Patriotic Party (MP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Asokwa in the Ashanti Region, in the interview reacted to allegations by a section of the public that he had runaway to UK, to seek cover from the heat coming from the Judgment Debt Commission.

Societe Generale, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Energy, GNPC, Bank of Ghana (BoG), auditors and ex-GNPC officials, have all failed to provide answers to the questions asked by the Commission in relations to the sale of the drillship, its justification, the quantum of the money paid to Societe Generale, certain administrative payments and the whereabouts of the remaining US$3.5 million.

But speaking to sit-in host of Ekosi-Sen programme, Captain Smart, Mr. Hammond dispelled the rumour that he had runaway, and took the opportunity to calm the nerves of his followers, saying he had arrived from his trip with the necessary information and documents to make his case solid when he appears before the Commission.

He said, there was nothing complicit about the issue, adding that whatever explanation given Ghanaians in 2001, when the drillship was sold, is what he is looking forward to talk about and present the necessary documents accompanying the transaction, but nothing new.

“Nobody should panic over this issue I did not runaway, I just traveled I am back. God willing if the man [Sole Commissioner] is ready and calls us, we shall go and explain to him whatever he wants to know and see, we shall show it to him, and then afterwards, we shall return to the recent happening and talk about them. So that we will stop focusing our attention on something that happened 12 years ago”, Mr. Hammond said.

When asked if he went to the Court where the hearing of the Drillship case was heard some twelve years ago, between GNPC and Societe Generale Bank, he responded in the affirmative, and declared his preparedness to appear at the Commission’s sitting to say what he knows about the whole process and his involvement in the transaction.

The MP was, however, not happy about newspaper publications punching holes into his pronouncement after the news broke about the circumstances that led to the sale saying, The Herald, The Informer newspapers and others will be put to shame by the time he finished stating his side of the story.

He prayed for God’s forgiveness for such journalists, who have peddled falsehood, to tarnish his image even before the case is properly heard.

He insisted he and others, such as Mr. Kan-Dapaah, did nothing wrong, as far as the transaction was concerned, but felt sad that instead of the journalists attacking Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, whose acts resulted in the situations he and others rectified are rather being attacked.

Mr. KT Hammond, who will not disclose details of his information from the said UK High Court, wondered why the media would be so interested in an issue that happened some 12 years ago, when there are new and fresh corrupt cases like the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Ghana Youth Entrepreneurial Employment and Development Agency (GYEEDA), Isofoton etc to talk about.

“Now they are writing that I have admitted that with what happened to the money, we did something wrong. May God forgive these people. In this country, some journalists just peddle falsehood, God forgive them.

“They just seek to disgrace people, but it will not work, because it is not possible that when someone is doing something with all the necessary transparency, you come and just want to associate wrong with him, it won’t work.

“When we are talking about new cases, then you go and bring something that has happened some 12 years ago, to cover what is happening now, it will not work. So let’s just wait, when the man [Sole Commissioner] calls us Ghanaians will get to know the truth,” the MP disclosed.

He questioned why the person that led the GNPC to cause the US$47million dollar debts, would be left off the hook, but those of them who tried to correct the wrong, would be portrayed as bad officials?

Meanwhile, Mr. Kan-Dapaah, has served a public notice through Nana Akomea, on Joy FM’s current affairs programme Newsfile, that he would be issuing a statement this week on the drillship saga.

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