Saturday, June 28, 2014

BDCs release over 2 million litres of fuel

Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) have released a week’s stock of petrol and diesel to the market to mitigate the acute shortage of petrol and diesel across the country.
The move is in response to the government’s release of GH¢450 million and $100 million to cover part of the debt it owed the BDCs.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic Friday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), Mr Senyo Hosi, confirmed the receipt of the amount by the BDCs.
“As we speak, I am at the Bank of Ghana processing the payment,” Mr Hosi disclosed and stated “we have since located the key that held one week’s stock under lock and key.”
International suppliers of petroleum products, early this week, put under “lock and key”, one week’s supply of petrol and diesel until BDCs honoured their debt obligation.
The BDCs on the other hand, were faced with financial problems because banks were unwilling to issue Letters of Credit (LCs) as a result of their huge indebtedness to the banks.
The situation resulted in a severe fuel shortage across the country. Long queues were sited at petrol dumps.
Some individuals took advantage of the situation and sold fuel for as much as GH¢50 per gallon.

First stock being released

To mitigate the situation, Mr Hosi said the BDCs were working around the clock to release petrol and diesel to the market.
“The first stock has been released from the Tema Tank Farm. More than two million litres have so far been discharged. We will work overtime today (Saturday) to ensure there is enough stock on the market,” Mr Hosi clarified.
Some banks, he explained had begun issuing LCs to cater for the importation of more petrol and diesel.
He explained that the financial hold on most supplies would be fully lifted by international suppliers as the banks issued the LCs.
“Letters of Credit are being issued for new imports. We expect the situation to normalise by Tuesday,” Mr Hosi assured.

 Gratitude to President

“The Chamber and its membership wish to express their sincere gratitude to the President, the Chief of Staff as well as the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana for their leadership and personal involvement in resolving the crisis,” Mr Hosi noted.
The payment, he explained would restore “funding confidence” in the industry.

Avoid Panic Buying

Pleading with motorists to avoid panic buying, Mr Hosi disclosed that the BDCs were working around the clock with stakeholders to ensure the situation normalised.
He expressed “the hope the events that led to this occurrence would be avoided in future.”
“We wish to reaffirm our commitment to our obligation to tirelessly and continuously work to maintain consistent supply of petroleum products to the market,” Mr Hosi added, and reiterated his position that subsidies on petroleum products should be scrapped as a matter of urgency.

Audit of Debt

Meanwhile, the government has tasked international audit firm, Ernst and Young to conduct an audit into the GH¢1.8 billion, being subsidies on petrol and diesel from the period of July 2011 to date.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Woyome: I’m entitled to claims against state

June 27, page 32/33
Businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome ended his evidence-in-chief in his GH¢51.2 million criminal case in Accra yesterday by reiterating his entitlement to claims he made against the government in 2010.
He began testifying at the Financial Division of the High Court on May 5, 2014, after the court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, had dismissed his submission of ‘no case’ on April 30, 2014.
The accused person told the court that his claim, which was supported by documents, was verified by the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department, the Ministry of Finance, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of CAN 2008, the Ministry of Sports, the Building Industry Consultants (BIC), among other bodies.
He said the opinions of those bodies were that his claim was genuine.
Responding to the state’s position that he was paid for no work done, he said, “What they are saying is incorrect. They are aware I worked and spent money for a period of four years.”

Judgement debt

Woyome said he was paid judgement debt, which was later negotiated and filed as consent judgement.
The accused person was very emotional when he said it was a court of competent jurisdiction that awarded him the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt, but his lawyer, Mr Sarfo Buabeng, and the trial judge urged him to calm down.
The court overruled the state’s objection to the tendering of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Shanghai Construction Group and the government of Ghana over the construction of stadia in Takoradi and Tamale.
According to the court, it would amount to injustice if it did not allow the document into evidence.
Woyome had sought to tender the document to prove his claim that the $18 million cost per stadia quoted by the Chinese firm in its tender bid shot up to $38.5 million in the MoU.

Closing remarks

In his closing remarks to the court, Woyome said he worked, spent money and it was confirmed by the government, including the Presidency, and for that reason he was entitled to the claim.
“There was a letter emanating from a former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, agreeing that they should authenticate work done by Vamed so they pay Vamed. Vamed’s work emanated from my financial engineering,” Woyome ended.


Answering questions under cross-examination from a Chief State Attorney, Mrs Yvonne Attakorah-Obuobisa, the accused person told the court that he was a consultant, financial engineer and retired diplomat.
According to him, he had businesses both in Ghana and the United States of America (USA) which he had been operating for the past 15 years.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Committee to investigate NPA office rental

Three letters which showed the government’s divergent position on Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s role in raising a 1.1 billion euro facility played out at the Financial Division of the High Court yesterday.
One of the letters had been tendered in evidence by the state, while Woyome tendered the two others.
The first letter acknowledged the businessman as engaging in financial engineering to raise funds but at the same time advised the financial institutions he was dealing with to desist from signing any contract that would bind the government of Ghana. 
The two other letters stated that Woyome deserved to be paid two per cent of 1.1 billion euros for engaging in financial engineering services.
A May 4, 2005 letter signed by a former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, told three international banks that in as much as the government was aware that Woyome was raising funds, it (government) had no dealing with him and for that reason those institutions should not enter into any agreement with him on behalf of the state.
But a March 25, 2010 letter signed by a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, justified why Woyome should be paid two per cent of 1.1 billion euro.
Her letter detailed the complexity of the work he did, which included the setting up of offices in three different countries to raise the 1.1 billion euro facility from Banc Austria.


At the court’s sitting in Accra yesterday, counsel for Woyome, Mr Sarfo Buabeng, asked him to comment on the May 4, 2005 letter, but a Chief State Attorney, Mr Matthew Amponsah, objected to that on the grounds that the language in the letter was explicit and unambiguous.
He also argued that Woyome was not the author of the document to comment on it, but Mr Buabeng disagreed and insisted that his client was entitled to comment on it.
In its ruling, the court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, overruled the state’s objection but indicated that the court was not bound by the accused person’s comment. 

Woyome’s comments

Commenting on Mr Agyemang-Manu’s letter, Woyome told the court that it was normal practice for the Ministry of Finance to write such letters each time funds were to be raised on behalf of the government by a non-government official.
He said the ministry was aware he was there to raise funds and the letter was only to remind the financiers to not enter into any agreements until the government had scrutinised all documents.
In that particular instance, Woyome said, the product he brought was the concurrent approval from Banc Austria, which would have yielded the government 1.1 billion euros if the government had accepted it before the September 30, 2005 deadline.

Third letter

A third letter, which was authored by a former Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, spelt out the stadia, hospitals and other facilities the money raised by Woyome would have been used to build.
That letter, which was addressed to  President John Evans Atta Mills, clearly spelt out the facilities the money would have been used to build.

No money paid

Mr Buabeng reminded the accused person of an earlier testimony from the investigator in the case which suggested that Banc Austria did not pay any money to the government of Ghana, but Woyome said that assertion was incorrect.
Describing a letter written by the Attorney-General’s office, through the Ministry of Finance, to the Austrian authorities on whether or not the 1.1 billion facility came as “incorrect”, Woyome said it was embarrassing for the ministry to have written such letter.
“Their incorrect letter solicited an incorrect answer,” he stressed.
“Under no circumstance have I stated verbally or written that money was transferred to Ghana,” he noted, and explained that his claim had always been that the government, after the concurrent approval by Banc Austria, was by law expected to accept the 1.1 billion euro offer before September 30, 2005.
“The Attorney-General knew that but incorrectly wrote asking if money came to Ghana and the normal response would be ‘no’,” he pointed out, noting that the Austrian authorities had, indeed, acknowledged that the signatures on the financial instrument were authentic.