Minority demands audit of GNPC over Freddie Blay’s ‘vulgar opulence’

Minority spokesperson on Mines and Energy, Adams Mutawakilu

The Minority in Parliament has demanded an immediate forensic audit of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) following what it called the “vulgar opulence” of its board chair, Freddie Blay.

This comes amid allegations of vote buying levelled against Mr. Blay ahead of him emerging winner in the keenly contested national chairmanship race of the NPP.

“The Minority in Parliament is in a state of shock after the blatant and unconscionable show of vulgar opulence and vote buying of the most obscene kind by the newly elected Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Mr. Frederick Worsemao Armah Blay at the just ended National Delegates Congress in Koforidua,” a statement from the Minority said.

The Minority contended that “Mr. Freddie Blay and the NPP in engaging in historic levels of profligacy has not only angered the vast majority of Ghanaians, but it has embarrassingly attracted international condemnation and brought untold shame upon Ghana.”

It added that Mr. Blay was “fueled by his insatiable desire for political power no matter the cost.”,

This “renders him unsuitable as the man to remain in charge of our oil and gas resources,” the Minority stated.

“The Minority in Parliament, therefore, demands that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, though complicit as it is well known that Mr. Blay was his most ordained and favoured candidate, commissions an immediate forensic audit to be carried out by an independent internationally acclaimed audit firm.”

275 buses saga

Ahead of the conference, Mr. Blay was widely criticized for personally procuring some 275 buses for all NPP constituency offices across the country.

The issue had generated controversy with the opposition political parties and civil society organizations, including his closest contender, Stephen Ntim describing it as vote-buying.

Stephen Ntim

According to reports, Mr. Blay as a guarantor, paid 3 million dollars which constitutes 30% of the total cost of 11.4 million dollars and has taken delivery of the first 100 minibuses.

Freddie Blay’s spokesperson, Richard Nyamah, subsequently explained that Freddie Blay contracted a loan facility from the Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) to procure the 275 buses and that the constituencies will pay for the bus over a two-year period.

Richard Nyamah also revealed that the NPP was behind the acting Chairman’s decision to purchase a bus for each of the party’s 275 constituencies.

Mr. Nyamah said discussions were held with the NPP and that the party “agreed and okayed the deal.”

The Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu is already investigating Mr. Blay over his conduct as a public officer.

Find below the full statement

PRESS RELEASE

MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT DEMANDS IMMEDIATE FORENSIC AUDIT INTO THE ACCOUNTS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE GHANA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION FOLLOWING THE VULGAR OPULENCE AND OBSCENE VOTE BUYING BY ITS BOARD CHAIRMAN, MR. FREDDIE BLAY AT THE JUST ENDED NPP DELEGATES CONGRESS

The Minority in Parliament is in a state of shock after the blatant and unconscionable show of vulgar opulence and vote buying of the most obscene kind by the newly elected Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Mr. Frederick Worsemao Armah Blay at the just ended National Delegates Congress in Koforidua.

The conduct of Mr. Freddie Blay and the NPP in engaging in historic levels of profligacy has not only angered the vast majority of Ghanaians, it has embarrassingly attracted international condemnation and brought untold shame upon Ghana. Dr. John Hayward of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party could not help but chide the NPP leadership calling on them to rather invest in reaching out to the people and addressing their concerns instead of splashing money on lavish political campaigns.

We take judicial notice that the newly elected NPP Chairman, Mr. Freddie Blay is not a mere private citizen but a high ranking public official having been appointed by President Akufo-Addo as the Board Chairman of the prestigious Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) since last year.

For someone who manages our oil and gas reserves, one would have expected the highest form of modesty and prudence in outlook, however, the unconscionable extravagant purchase of 275 buses for NPP constituency executives after depositing his so-called personal funds of US$3 million in an US$ 11.4 million transaction which has sparked national outrage at a time Ambulances are in short supply and proceeding further at the congress grounds to share hordes of cash to delegates plus the distribution of tonnes of goodies in the form of branded snacks and other consumables does not only mark a new low in our country’s democratic credentials but demands of us to rise as responsible citizens who care about the future of our dear nation. It is for this reason we demand an immediate forensic audit into our country’s hydrocarbons.

Many in Ghana including members of Freddie Blay’s own political party such as Mr. Stephen Ntim and Dr. Amoako Baah are legitimately asking for the source of Mr. Freddie Blay’s sudden wealth.

Ghanaians have not forgotten how only a couple of years back, Mr. Freddie Blay’s generosity could not be located when the party in which he was Vice Chairman failed to service a much lower Prudential Bank loan of GHS 2 million which was the subject of heated internal party wrangling which spilled over into the public domain.

The Minority recalls how in March this year, we had cause to criticize a rather problematic GNPC work programme for 2018 when it was laid for the approval of Parliament. We objected to the use or shall we say misuse of US$13.4 million to renovate the GNPC office in Accra, construct a new office also in Accra for US$20 million, build another office in Takoradi for US$10 million, erect a transit quarters for the comfort of GNPC staff in Takoradi for US$ 1.9 million and an amorphous allocation of US$ 100 million for so-called agric roads.

The gross misconduct of Mr. Freddie Blay fueled by his insatiable desire for political power no matter the cost, renders him unsuitable as the man to remain in charge of our oil and gas resources. Ghana is not safe!

The Minority in Parliament therefore demands that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, though complicit as it is well known that Mr. Blay was his most ordained and favoured candidate, commissions an immediate forensic audit to be carried out by an independent internationally acclaimed audit firm.

We also demand that Mr. Freddie Blay be made to step aside as GNPC Board Chairman in the interim ahead of the forensic audit so as not to interfere with proceedings.

The Minority hereby serves notice that if President Akufo-Addo fails to commission the requested forensic audit within the next two weeks, we shall vigorously explore other avenues within and without Parliament to seek redress and safeguard our country’s precious oil and gas resources.

Signed,
Adam Mutawakilu (MP)
Ranking Member, Mines and Energy Committee

[8th July, 2018]

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citinewsroom.com/Ghana

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