The Judgment Debt Commissioner, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, has asked the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to provide the Commission with the contract agreement between it (GNPC) and Societe-Generale (SG).
The sole Commissioner has given the GNPC, together with the Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, up to September 16 to furnish the Commission with the documents.
“Documentation is important,” he added.
The Commission invited the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the Attorney General and the Solicitor General to explain the rationale behind the payment of a whopping amount as judgment debt to the French Company.
Mr. Dometi Kofi Sorpkoi, the Legal Counsel for the Commission, said the Attorney General and the Solicitor General were absent because they could not find the file containing the documents of the case but added that they wrote to the Commission to re-schedule their meeting.
He said the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC said during the court trial, which SG sued the corporation; the Attorney General’s Department asked to be given all the documents in their possession concerning the case and could not determine whether they were brought.
He said there were three different figures available to the Commission as the amount paid as judgment debt to SG including US$47 million, US$20 million and US$12 million.
He said prior to the payment of the judgment debt, GNPC were using Bindman and Partners as their legal representation in court when Societe Generale was contesting the corporation but the then Attorney General, Nana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, asked for the matter to be handed over to him.
He said after the handing over of the case to the Attorney General there were no legal representation for GNPC, leading to loss of the case by the corporation, which brought about the payment of the judgment debt.
Nana Asafu-Adjaye, the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, said in 1999 SG sued the corporation ina London court to recover debt they claimed was owed by the corporation.
He said the organisation contested the claims of SG based on the fact that it was SG that gave “negligent advice” to the corporation to hedge its anticipated production of oil and gas from the Tano Fields.
He said a letter dated 24 October 2001 from the Ministry of Energy to the corporation showed that the GNPC drill ship, D511, was sold for US$19.5 million but could not confirm whether it was used to defray the judgment debt.