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ATTEMPT TO LINK KEN OFORI-ATTA TO AGM-AKER DEAL FALLS FLAT

Politics

The Daily Statesman can confirm that reports circulating to the effect that Joseph Babatunde Ampah, formerly of Databank Financial Services, is leading a consortium partnering AGM Ghana Ltd in its oil and gas exploration and production activities offshore in Ghana are based on false rumours.

The Daily Statesman can confirm that reports circulating to the effect that Joseph Babatunde Ampah, formerly of Databank Financial Services, is leading a consortium partnering AGM Ghana Ltd in its oil and gas exploration and production activities offshore in Ghana are based on false rumours.

Rather, David Adomakoh, an astute investment banker with nearly three decades of experience in executive management, is the man leading Quad Energy as AGM’s local partner.

Mr Adomakoh is the 100 per cent shareholder in Quad Energy as well as a non-executive board member of Aker Energy, Norway.

Ken not involved

In a desperate effort apparently to sully the hard-won reputation of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, certain faceless individuals are circulating a “news” item claiming that the said Babatunde Ampah is well connected to the Finance Minister and is therefore fronting for him.

The clumsy report sought to suggest that because Babatunde was “a part owner of Quad Energy Ltd” and is the son of the late Joseph Erskine Ampah, who was a member of the NPP and a close friend of Mr Ofori-Atta, that the Finance Minister is somehow influencing decisions in AGM’s favour.

Information available to the Daily Statesman shows that David Adomakoh was invited by AGM to lead the consortium of established and robust Ghanaian businesses because of his track record.

He is coincidentally related to Mr Ampah and initially invited him to work for Quad Energy when he was setting up the company,

Proud partner

With Mr Adomakoh’s appointment to lead the consortium, Quad Energy has become “a proud partner of AGM, a company that is genuinely intent on delivering substantial value to the people of Ghana through its activity in the country’s oil and gas sector”, a statement from the company signed by the shareholder said.

The company was compelled to set the record straight following a string of misinformed questions raised about its real ownership. This was not disclosed in the memo to Parliament during consideration on Friday of the amended petroleum agreement for AGM Ghana Ltd.

“Mr David Adomakoh invited his nephew, Babatunde Ampah, to initially serve as the second director of the company. But Mr Ampah holds no shareholding or any other beneficial interest in the company,” Mr Adomakoh said in his statement.

“Quad Energy Limited seeks to focus on developing itself as one of the growing number of long-term-oriented Ghanaian-owned businesses that continue to deepen the involvement of Ghanaians in the local oil and gas sector.”

AGM operations

AGM Ghana Ltd first acquired the South Deepwater Tano (SDWT) oil block in September 2013.

This was before the Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations 2013 (LI2204), which make it mandatory to have an indigenous Ghanaian company holding a minimum 5 per cent interest in subsequent oil blocks, came into force.**

Until them, AGM Ghana Ltd did not have a local partner with a distinct interest. The parties that came under the original 2013 petroleum agreement for the SDWT block, dated September 10, were Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), GNPC Explorco and AGM Petroleum Ghana Ltd.

Until 2018, AGM Ghana Ltd was wholly owned by AGM Gibraltar, an offshore company registered under the laws of Gibraltar.

The shareholders of AGM Gibraltar were Minexco OGG Inc (97.5 per cent) and Med Songhai (2.5 per cent). Med Songhai is a Ghanaian company wholly owned by the industrialist Joseph Siaw Agyepong of Jospong fame.

Checks show that Med Songhai Developers Ltd was incorporated in Ghana in September 2011. Its stated directors are Dela Ackah, Joseph Siaw Agyepong and Kyeretwie Opoku.

Interestingly, Kyeretwie Opoku, who was on the GNPC board at the time, witnessed the petroleum agreement for AGM in 2013. He was also the chairman of GNPC Explorco at the time.

In 2018, AGM Gibraltar sold 100 per cent of its shares in AGM Ghana to Petrica Holding AS, which became the sole shareholder of AGM Ghana, thereby extinguishing both Minexco OGG and Med Songhai’s interests in the entity and the block.

Med Songhai however continues to be a shareholder in the offshore company AGM Gibraltar, but not in AGM Ghana, a distinct and separate legal entity which has acquired new ownership.

As of September 2013, when the petroleum agreement was signed by the parties, the Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations 2013 (LI 2204), requiring 5 per cent local content participation, were not applicable to the terms of the agreement.

Med Songhai’s interest and participation decisions in AGM Gibraltar were based purely on commercial assessments at the time, and were not the result of a legislative instrument which did not exist when the agreement was signed.

Parliament’s role

On May 30 2018, Med Songhai delivered a petition to the parliamentary select committee on energy regarding its interest in the South Deepwater Tano Basin and its participation (or, rather, lack of participation) in AGM.

The petition was tabled before Parliament, which recommended that the Minister of Energy facilitate a meeting between Med Songhai and AGM Ghana with a view to resolving the issue of Med Songhai’s 2.5 per cent participation interest in AGM (Gibraltar) Ltd and its relation, if any, to the new ownership structure of the SDWT block.

The Minority in Parliament put up a strong defence on behalf of Joseph Siaw Agyepong and questioned Quad’s participation in the block as a local partner.

** Editor: The regulations came into force in November that year.