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Controversial Ghanaian Professor helping Guyana draft new Oil Fund Laws

Kaieteur News

From Left: Natural Resources Ministry’s Bobby Gossai Jr., Professor Amoako Tuffuor and AG Anil Nandlall, during Wednesday’s meeting

By Kaieteur News

GEORGETOWN
Petroleumworld 12 03 2021

Professor Joe Amoako-Tuffour, the Secretary and a Member of the Economic Management Team attached to the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, who in 2018 was accused of being involved in a corrupt bribery transaction, is in Guyana assisting the Attorney General’s Chambers, with drafting new laws governing the use of Guyana’s oil revenues.

The meeting was had between Professor Amoako-Tuffour and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, on Wednesday last.

The delegations from the two teams, according to the Ministry in a subsequent public statement said, “…the meeting was a consultative exercise on Guyana’s Local Content Bill and Amendments to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act.”

According to the Ministry, Professor Joe Amoaka- Tuffour shared lessons that were learnt by the Ghanaian Government when drafting legislation of this nature. He also reportedly shared the experiences of some eight oil producing countries “which he studied and explained the various strategies and mechanisms that were employed to overcome the myriads of obstacles.”

The Ministry said, the Ghanaian official also cautioned against aspiring for the perfect legislative framework based upon other countries, explaining that with time and experience, Guyana will have to develop its own unique network. According to the Ministry, Attorney General Nandlall, during the course of the meeting, explained that in drafting the amendments to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act, the intention is to create a transparent, accountable and rigid framework which insulates against political interference.

In relation to the Local Content Bill, the Attorney General emphasized that strenuous efforts are being made to ensure simplicity and a framework that would protect Guyana and its people’s best interest. Minister Nandlall further explained that the legislative endeavors draw heavily from the experiences of Ghana, the inputs of the Professor and from many other jurisdictions whose legislation were examined as well as from consultations that were locally done.

Corruption Allegations

Checks by this publication into Professor Amoako-Tuffour however, has since unearthed that the Ghanaian official was in 2018, accused of being part of a corrupt transaction involving the payment of bribery. He had reportedly denied the allegations, saying he was only a mediator in the entire affair. According to international media reports, the senior member of Ghana’s governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), name had popped up in a supposed corrupt deal at the Metro Mass Transit Limited.

He subsequently explained saying, that he was not complicit, and that he only acted as a mediator between the company’s Managing Director, Bennet Aboagye, and his supposed blackmailers. Citi Newsroom in April 2018 had reported that Professor Amoako-Tuffour had decided not to immediately report the blackmailers to the police in the hope of retrieving some secret recordings. “I was only a mediator between two people talking about their business. My interest all along was to make sure that when they got the tape, I can also get hold of it and then play it and make sure that whatever concerned the president or ministers, I can deal with it,” that news report quoted him saying.

Professor Amoako Tuffuor is alleged to have attempted to bribe some staff of the company on behalf of the Metro Mass Managing Director, Bennet Aboagye, to be able to extract evidence from those the MD believes are “blackmailers.” Present at Wednesday’s meeting with Professor Amoako Tuffuor and AG Nandlall was a team from the Ministry of Natural Resources comprising of Bobby Gossai Jr., Snr. Petroleum Coordinator, Martin Pertab, Snr. Petroleum Economist, Joanna Simmons, Snr. Legal Coordinator, Visal Satram, Legal Officer and Michael Munroe, Legal Officer. Additionally, members of the Chambers of the Attorney General which comprised of Debra Kumar, Deputy Solicitor General, Charles Fung-a-Fatt, SC, Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Ronetta Sargent, Senior Legal Advisor, Arti Outar, State Counsel, Janet Ali, State Counsel and, Ayana Fable, Parliamentary Counsel, were also on hand for the meeting.

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