3 MPs Sue GNPC Over $700m Loan


From Left to Right :Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, Samuel Atta Akyea, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh

Three New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) have sued the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) for seeking a foreign loan without parliamentary approval.

The three, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh and Samuel Atta Akyea, MPs for Tafo Pankrono, Manhyia South and Abuakwa South constituencies respectively, want an Accra commercial court to stop the GNPC, headed by Alex Mould, from acquiring a $700 million loan facility from a foreign bank.

Reliefs
The writ, filed by lawyers of the MPs – Faibille & Faibille – yesterday, want the court to declare that the GNPC ‘contracting, procuring, securing or otherwise acquiring or drawing down on the loan facility or any other loan without prior approval of parliament is unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.’

They also want a declaration that ‘defendant’s decision to undertake a programme of projects without parliamentary approval is ultra vires and violates the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011 (Act 815) and is therefore null and void.’

Furthermore, the plaintiffs want a perpetual injunction restraining the GNPC and its agents ‘from contracting, securing, procuring or drawing down on a loan facility of $700 million or any other loan from any financial institution whether situate in Ghana or not or embarking on any project, works and programmes without prior parliamentary scrutiny and approval…’

Statement Of Claim
In their statement of claim, the MPs averred that they got to know about the GNPC’s intention to secure a loan on November 10, 2014 when the Statesman newspaper reported that the defendant entity was set to contract a loan of $1.200 million to be repaid in five years and secured by oil belonging to the people of Ghana.

According to the MPs, myjoyonline.com the following day published the GNPC’s reaction to the media story in respect of the speculated loan facility.

The plaintiffs said the GNPC confirmed in the statement to the media that it was indeed acquiring a $700 million facility at an interest rate calculated per three -month LIBOR plus 3.9% for a five-year term.

‘Plaintiffs say that defendant is to execute the Loan Facility agreement on or about November 20, 2014 with the draw-down of $350 million of the Loan Facility on November 25, 2014.’

Terms Of Loan Facility
According to the MPs, the GNPC said it was going to use proceeds of the loan to among other things, augment its working capital, and build up capital since state capitalization for its operations ends 15 years from the commencement of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act in 2011.

The plaintiffs said the GNPC had said that the facility was ‘better than the 22% interest which the state would pay on the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) project ($493 million) or the 15% interest which the state will pay on the TEN Field Gas project ($36 million) if the investors were to pre-finance the projects.’

Additionally, the plaintiffs averred that according to the defendant, the facility was expected to provide guarantees for the OCTP contractors for the off-take of natural gas from the field, raise a bank guarantee of about $200 to US$300 million.

Contention
The MPs stated that they would contend that ‘the projects have not been approved by parliament as part of defendant’s annual programme of works in the manner stated and contemplated by respondent in the myjoyonline interview which approval is a statutory requirement pursuant to Section 7 (3)(b) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815) (hereinafter, ‘Act 815′).’

Parliamentary Approval
The plaintiffs insisted that GNPC is not authorized by law to spend or borrow to spend without parliamentary approval of the projects adding, ‘plaintiffs say that although defendant intends to draw-down on the Loan Facility on or about November 25, 2014, the relevant agreement in connection therewith has neither been scrutinized by parliament nor same approved by parliament in accordance with Article 181 (3) and 181(4) of the Constitution, Section 7 of the Loans Act 1970 (Act 335) and Section 7(3)(b) of Act 815.’

According to the plaintiffs, defendant is a statutory corporation entirely capitalized by the Republic and so could not enter into loan agreements or contract the Loan Facility without the knowledge and consent of parliament.’

By William Yaw Owusu
 
 
 

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