The combatant Egyapa Mercer, is at it again defending his boss, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, on the new expose’, suggesting a corrupt transaction to hide Ghana’s oil interest in Cayman Islands.
Government and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) had been tight lipped, until the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) held a press conference to expose the secret transaction with the American company, Occidental and its subsidiary, Anadarko WCTP Company.
The ACEP expose’, also led to revelation that Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, had doled out a whooping US$165 million dollars’ tax revenues to the American company without respecting the Petroleum Revenue Management law.
The finance minister, used the Tax revenue due to the republic from Occidental’s sale of assets in Ghana to pay for the 7peercent interest in the jubilee and TEN fields on behalf of Jubilee Oil holdings, a company whose ownership is in contention, with no trace in government accounts.
The payment of the colossal amount, was also done without parliamentary approval.
Insiders at the law firm of Minkah-Premo & Co. (Akosombo Chambers) which handles Anadarko Petroleum Corporation legal and other managerial activities, told The Herald that the US company, had opted to do the transaction in the Cayman Islands to avoid the payment of capital gains tax.
Interestingly, the Deputy Minister of Energy, and longtime ardent communicator on all controversial deals involving Gabby and the Akufo-Addo family, has become a lone ranger in defense of the US$165 million Cayman Islands deal.
Apparently, many communicators of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Akufo-Addo government, as well as technocrats are unwilling to step into the fray this time around; they are tired.
Insiders intimates how the Akufo-Addo family, has been struggling to get people to defend it on the US$165 million transaction having heard about Gabby’s involvement and that of Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.
“Even the usual party communicators are getting weary of the incessant deals and corruption-tagged deals of the President’s family, and are unwilling to participate in what appears to be an unending defense of greed and selfish annexation of national resources by one family”, one insider told The Herald.
The Herald and many media houses, have failed to get responses from government officials to speak on the matter.
Even GNPC communications department, have run away from their own statement which rather painted the Finance Minister, as being reckless and operating a parallel budget for the family of Akufo-Addo, outside what parliament approves.
Since The Herald’s first publication on the transaction, its reporters have been monitoring the website of GNPC to see if they will officially own the statement issued in defense of the deal, but the statement is not officially available.
This is laying credence to claims from sources at GNPC, particularly its Accra office at Airport Residential Area, where CEO, Dr. KK Sarpong operates that the statement emerged from Gabby’s office and the private office of GNPC boss.
Ordinarily, Dr Baah-Nuakoh, who is the General Manager, Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations at GNPC would have signed the statement but this was not signed by him. Indeed, no one signed. It was only on the letterhead of the GNPC.
Having failed to get GNPC officers to defend the indefensible, insiders say Gabby, has turnedd to his ever faithful Egyapa Mercer, to water down the mess, if not clear it altogether.
Egyapa Mercer, who is a lawyer by profession, has a history of fronting for businessmen as happened in the case of botched Power Distribution Service (PDS) deal which was to manage the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Readers will recall the past role of Mr. Mercer in the Agyapa Royalties transaction and the PDS scandals.
Mr. Mercer defended those transactions with the energy in him.
In the case of PDS, he had acted as lawyer, a director and a secretary to one of the companies in the consortium; TG Energy Solutions.
His financial interest was revealed by The Herald to have conflicted with his role as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi in the Western Region, when he was in Parliament to vote on the transaction after it went to the House for approval. He did not recuse himself.
Ghana later lost almost $192 million package from America’s Millennium Challenge Corporation as a result of the corruption identified in the deal, when an insurance policy brokered by Ghana’s Donewell Insurance Company from Qatar-based insurance company Al Koot, turned out to be fake. This opened the lead on other infractions recorded about the deal which the government had covered.
But Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, etched his name on the minds of Ghanaians with his energetic defence as one of the architects of the transactions he had a financial interest in, by simply posing as an ordinary government spokesperson.
Interestingly, Egyarpa Mercer at the time had used his law office in Accra as the registered office of TG Energy Solutions, whose actual owners have till date remained a mystery.
It had multiple fronts with Joseph Siaw Agyapong, owner of Zoomlion Waste Company, as the most probable owner, although a barbershop owner, Philip Ayesu, was also linked to the company.
Ahead of these name coming out, one David Nana Yaw Asare, a known worker of Zoomlion, had also told The Herald in an interview that, he was the actual owner of TG Energy Solutions claiming he had traveled to Philippines to get a company; Meralco from there to be part of the consortium. At the time of saying this Philip Ayesu, owner of X-Men Barbershop at East Legon in Accra, with no known expertise in electric power management and distribution was the largest shareholder on paper. TG Energy Solutions, was registered at the Registrar General’s Department by Egyarpa Mercer.
PDS Consortium, had claimed they were going to invest over US$580 million for capital expenditures to strengthen the governance, management and operations of the ECG and improve the delivery of power to end-users as well as support Ghana’s socio-economic growth but not even a dime was invested into ECG, they rather took so much away, and still keeping some cash.
Egyapa Mercer’s defense of anything the Akufo-Addo family was involved in has paid off. He has not been forgotten in Akufo-Addo’s second term, having been left out of opportunities in the over 130 ministerial positions in the first term. He became Deputy Energy Minister, one of the juicy Ministries in the country.
What is surprising though, are his claims on the Cayman Island transaction. He told Joy FM that Dr. K. K Sarpong and Freddie Blay, did nothing wrong for hiding the interest of GNPC in the Cayman Islands.
Recently, he was also on Asaase Radio, claiming that the Finance Minister was right to grant a US$165 million loan to GNPC even though it has been established that the minister did that without parliamentary approval.
Mr. Mercer also dared anyone who thinks they have violated any law to go to court, an advice The Herald can confirm some individuals are considering, even though getting the court to sit on cases against Akuffo Addo regime is difficult.
The obvious truth, however, is that Mercer appears the only man standing in defense of a new order to hide Ghana’s resources offshore.