Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, has said former President Jerry John Rawlings owes him no explanation for announcing his (Mr Tsikata’s) transfer from the Corporation to the Energy Ministry on radio in 2000.
Mr Tsikata, who admitted to Kojo Yankson on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday December 9 that Mr Rawlings never discussed nor explained to him the reason behind the transfer, said despite his familial links with the former military leader, “he didn’t owe me anything, he didn’t owe me any explanation.”
Just ahead of the 2000 general elections, Mr Tsikata was reassigned to the Energy Ministry as an adviser to the Minister. He, however, explained that the change in government after the elections, made it impossible for him to play that role, after he had taken his accumulated leave for the time he served at the GNPC.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) won the elections at the time. Mr Tsikata said he was “harassed” and “victimised” by the Kufuor administration, which succeeded Mr Rawlings.
Pressed by Kojo Yankson about why he seemed unperturbed about the fact that Mr Rawlings – a relative and former school mate – never explained to him, the reasons for his transfer, Mr Tsikata said: “…It’s not a personal matter…there’s a governmental system….presidents don’t write letters…there’s a system….my work at GNPC and my work in official capacities had nothing to do with personal relations, it had nothing to do with friendship.”
He said he respected the fact that Mr Rawlings played his role as President in his official capability.
Meanwhile Mr Tsikata has said the refusal by the Kufuor administration to pay certain entitlements due him and three others amounted to political victimisation.
“…What I am addressing, what I am concerned about based on representations [from GNPC] that had indicated to me that the board of GNPC is concerned to resolve, once and for all, some outstanding issues of entitlements of certain officers being wrongly denied them and being denied frankly as a matter of political victimisation.
“I think let’s call a spade a spade. In 2001, there was a situation in which certain people were targeted in relation to the affairs of GNPC, that’s the reality we have to confront,” Mr Tsikata said.
Apart from Mr Tsikata, three other former top-level management members of the state oil firm, according to the current board of the GNPC, are also due some outstanding entitlements.
Mr Tsikata on Tuesday December 8 told Citi FM’s Richard Sky that: “I’m entitled to” payments of his entitlements that have been outstanding for over a decade after leaving the state oil firm in 2001.
“It’s not a favour that anybody is doing me,” Mr Tsikata said on the ‘Point Blank’ segment of Eyewitness News.
Mr Tsikata recently sued Adansi Asokwa Member of Parliament K.T. Hammond for defamation, in relation to comments the former deputy Energy Minister had made in regards to the alleged payment of the emoluments.
In a statement, Mr Tsikata said: “I have had a writ issued in the High Court against the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Hon. K.T. Hammond, for defamatory statements against me that have been given extensive publicity.”
Mr Hammond recently alleged that Mr Tsikata, as well as three other former top-level management staff of GNPC – Esther Cobbah (Mr Tsikata’s wife), Nana Asafu-Adjaye (former Acting CEO) and Mr Benjamin Dagadu, were paid emoluments by the Corporation, despite leaving the state institution about 15 years ago.
Apart from Mr Tsikata’s wife, whom Mr Hammond said received about $600,000, the other three, the former deputy Energy Minister said, received about $1 million each.
A member of GNPC’s Board, Mr Abraham Amaliba, however, revealed recently that only one person had so far received the package.
Esther Cobbah also issued a statement saying although she deserved the money and had been informed of it, she had not yet received any payment.
Her husband also said in his correspondence dated December 5 that contrary to claims by Mr Hammond that he (Mr Tsikata), had been paid $1 million as ex-gratia, no money had been advanced to him from the GNPC to that effect.
“After over 12 years of service to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), as chief executive, even salary payments during a period when I was on leave in 2001 were not made to me.
“My entitlements to the Provident Fund were never paid – not even my own contributions. No End of Service benefits of any sort were ever paid.
“A letter I wrote to the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the time was not answered. In a radio interview recently, Hon. K.T. Hammond, who was the Deputy Minister for Energy in that period, falsely claims that I must have been paid some entitlements. He will now have the opportunity in court to justify this and other false and defamatory statements he has been making against me,” Mr Tsikata said in the statement.
In his interview with Richard Sky on Tuesday, Mr Tsikata said that he was unable to push for the payment of the emoluments due him because the government, which took over in 2001 “harassed” him and targeted him for prosecution, thus creating an unfriendly atmosphere for him to even assert his right to his emoluments. According to him, his priority at the time was to safeguard his right to freedom, which he said, was threatened by the Kufuor administration at the time.