Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, the former Minister of Health who resigned in the aftermath of the Mabey & Johnson bribery scandal and trial in the U.K. to clear his name, has bounced back to public office as the Acting Chief Executive of the newly incorporated Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), an agency of state under the Ministry of Energy.
Dr. Yankey is also a member of the five-member Board of Directors of the company, which has a former Minister of Finance under the Rawlings presidency, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey as Chairman.
Other members of the Board are Mr. Eric Yankah, a former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Thomas Manu, Director (Exploration and Production) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and Dr. Valerie Sawyerr, a Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the President.
Dr. Yankey, who was unhappy about the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ’s) decision to discontinue hearing the case of bribery allegations, because some of the persons appearing with him before CHRAJ had challenged the body’s mandate to try them, proceeded to the Human Rights Court for an opportunity to be heard but was refused. He denied ever being compromised in his work as a public officer when the scandal broke and resigned in October 2009.
“I wish to make it clear that I, George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, have never taken a bribe and, by the grace of God, will never ever take a bribe because I believe it is tantamount to blackmail, extortion and stealing, and this, certainly, is not my nature. Once again, I have never taken a bribe from Mabey & Johnson and have never taken a bribe from any one or company since I started working in the Public Service,” he said in a statement.
His statement continued in part:
“It is important to set the record straight. It does appear that people are confusing Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey of 2009 and Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey of 1989 to 1996. I had never been a Minister of state in my life until I was appointed one in February, 2009, by His Excellency the President, John Evans Atta-Mills. During the period under consideration, that is, between 1989 and 1996, I was not a Minister, a Deputy Minister or Chief Director at the Ministry of Roads and Highways which awarded the contracts for the construction of bridges to Mabey & Johnson, and so I did not have the power to or influence the award of those contracts to Mabey & Johnson.
“Certainly, therefore, it stands to reason that I could not have been bribed by that company. Between 1989 and 1995, I was simply a head of a unit at the Ministry of Finance, and became a Director in 1996, and never had the power to or influence award contracts, and so there could not be any basis for anyone to influence me to award him or her a contract.
“As Head of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Finance, my staff and I proffered legal advice to the Ministry, reviewed and negotiated agreements and ensured that all conditions precedent to the effectiveness of agreements, such as seeking cabinet approval and parliamentary ratification, procuring legal opinion from the Attorney General`s Department, and Bank of Ghana`s guarantee to securitize loans ratified by Parliament, were met to enable the agreement to become effective. These, among others, were routine activities that my staff and I undertook. In reviewing all the documents relating to Mabey & Johnson, my staff and I never did anything different from the normal nor did anything wrong or dishonest.
“…..May I reiterate that the issue at stake is not just an allegation of bribery or limited to a smear campaign against Sipa Yankey and others. The issue is about NATURAL JUSTICE FOR ALL, and I am committed to champion the search for justice to ensure that never again will a Ghanaian be treated so unfairly and with disdain the way some of us have been subjected to. This I pledge to the good people of Ghana as I endeavor to clear my good name.
Meanwhile, a press release signed by the Minister of Energy, Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei last week, said the ministry had “put in place all the necessary logistical arrangements to ensure that the company functions effectively and efficiently and would want to thank the World Bank for providing the initial funding for the set up of the company.”
The release gave the GNGC’s functions to include: “Own, manage and develop a national network of gas pipelines and gas treatment and storage facilities; acquire by purchase or otherwise, construct, establish, manage, operate and maintain and otherwise deal with all gas transmission and processing facilities, works, buildings, conveniences and other systems necessary to gather, transport, treat or store gas.”
The company is also to market and sell gas as well as carry out any general commercial activities related to the safe and reliable operation of the gas infrastructure.
The Minister reiterated government’s commitment to fast-tracking the development of a robust, efficient and viable infrastructure required for the commercialization of recent gas discoveries in the country.
Continuing, Dr. Oteng-Adjei said “the broad objective of Government is to develop the gas resources initially for the domestic market, mainly for power generation, fertilizer production and the petrochemical industry.” Meanwhile, a Project Implementation Unit (PIU), consisting of two representatives each from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and a representative from the Energy Commission (EC) has taken charge of the transitional processes in the implementation of the project.
The PIU, which is headed by Government Energy Policy Advisor, Nii Amarh Amarquaye, is expected to be taken over by the GNGC within the next three months. [email protected]
Source: Business Analyst
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