Payment Of Drill Ship Balance Is Done –Chris Kpodo

Mr. Chris Kpodo, a former Ghana’s High Commissioner in London, on Wednesday confirmed the payment of the 3.5 million dollar being the balance of proceeds of the drillship into an account at the Ghana International Bank in London. He said Mr. Kobina Tahir Hammond, a former Deputy Minister of Energy, handed over a Barclays Bank Banker's Draft containing the amount and issued to government of Ghana was paid into an account at the Ghana International Bank in London. Mr. Kpodo was affirming his knowledge about the payment of the 3.5 million dollar balance out of the 24 million dollar drillship sale at the Judgment Debt Commission sitting in Accra. “The 3.5 million dollar banker’s draft was handed to me and instructions on telephone by the former Finance Minister, Mr. Yaw OSafo Maafo, the cheque was paid into a “special collection account” which could only be withdrawn by express order of the Ministry of Finance”, the former Envoy said. Mr. Kpodo said a receipt was issued after the money was deposited and a report made to the Finance Minister but no response was received from the Finance Minister. The former Envoy said he witnessed the signing of Mr. Hammond’s signature but was not preview about the negotiations and agreements or told how much the drillship was sold for. “I was briefed on the sale but the actual amount of the drillship was not disclosed to me”, Mr. Kpodo said. On witnessing Mr. Hammond’s signature, he said he was out of office when a call came asking him to meet Mr. Hammond to witness his signing of the drillship agreement. He said because he was not available in office, he asked a representative to go and have it done on his behalf but he (representative) was turned down when he got there. Mr. Kpodo said he had to rush to the signing ceremony in bizarre circumstances when the officials were waiting on him to come and witness the signature of Mr. Hammond. “I only witnessed the signature of Mr. Hammond but I was not preview to the content of the agreement”, he told the Commission. Asked whether he was aware the 3.5 million dollars was used to pay salaries of workers of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Kpodo responded “not in my knowledge”. Mr. Kpodo said he was not in a position to tell the whereabouts of the account but tendered documents on Barclays Bank Banker’s Draft of the 3.5 million dollar, receipts and statements after the bank had credited the account to the Commission. Mr. Emmanuel Martey, Acting Corporate Estate Manager of the Volta River Authority (VRA), also appeared before the Commission in respect of compensation paid to claimants involved in the flooded lands in 1960s. He said the VRA had no list of claimants because in 1974 the Authority was asked to transfer the payment of compensation to central government. The Lands Commission took over the responsibility of paying compensation to claimants of the flooded lands. Mr. Martey told the Commission that VRA paid 3.5 million pounds for the payment of transmission lines and settlements after it had received a letter from cabinet in 1971 to hand over the responsibility of payment of compensation of flooded lands to the Lands Commission. The VRA washed its hands since then and had nothing to do with flooded land areas, Mr. Martey said.