Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nigerian oil smugglers invade Ghana – PC Appiah Ofori alleges

Appiah Ofori

Anti corruption crusader and NPP MP for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Paul Collins Appiah Ofori, has told Citi News he has credible information that crude oil thieves and smugglers have invaded Ghana from neighbouring Nigeria.

He claims they are in the country with plans to loot the nation’s oil resources for sale on the international market.

He has therefore petitioned President Mills not to sign the recently passed Petroleum Revenue Management Act into law.

He wants the President to refer the legislation back to Parliament for amendments to be made, to give the Ghana Navy the necessary legal backing to, at all times, protect the nation’s oil resources against the activities of oil thieves and smugglers.

Speaking to Citi FM’s Parliamentary Correspondent Richard Sky, the MP who said he could not participate in the last sitting that saw the passage of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act said the Bill is inimical to the national interest.

The MP in his memo to President Mills said he had received information from his contacts that some persons in Nigeria who smuggle the country’s petroleum to make capital gains elsewhere, have arrived in Ghana.

According to him, the unknown persons have even gone further to meet with some officials of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GPNC), to sell the idea to them so they could work together to loot the State.

“This is information I received from Nigeria because I have worked in Nigeria for fifteen years and I came into contact with those who have been doing that to the detriment of Nigeria’s interest. I am sure they are in the country to sell the idea of the way they smuggle these products in Nigeria for sale abroad to authorities in Ghana so that they could do the same because they own vessels which they use to go to where the oil is produced, fill it and then sail to the US to sell for themselves”.

“If they introduce this into this country, a substantial part of the oil that should accrue to us in terms of revenue will be lost to Ghana."

According to the whistleblower MP, he personally visited the Ghana Navy and discussed the subject with them in order to find solutions to what could be done to prevent such an activity from occurring.

He said the Navy came out with a strategy which he put together and presented to Parliament as an amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, however the Majority struck out the proposal.

“I was surprised to know that when the question was put I lost the amendment. So my determination to ensure that Ghana Navy comes in so that our oil will be protected is lost. President Mills is the Head of State and the Constitution requires that he has seven days within which to assent to a Bill so as soon as I lost it, that same day I wrote to him and requested him not to assent to it."

“I am very sure that even NDC members who think good of Ghana will support the idea that we should put in measures to prevent the looting of the country” he said.

In response a Deputy Energy Minister, Inusah Fuseini told Citi News he was hearing the issue for the first time.

He said if indeed there was any truth in Hon Appiah Ofori’s allegations, he should have sought audience with the Police rather than writing to the President.

According to the Deputy Minister, there is no correlation between the purported oil smugglers and the Petroleum Management Bill.

BY: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/

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