26 November 2013, Accra – The controversies surrounding the sale and disbursement of proceeds from the sale of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) drill Ship, the Discoverer 511, took a different twist when a former Deputy Energy Minister and Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Kwabena Tahir Hammond, told the Commission Monday that he was ordered to hand over the US$3.5 million cheque to the then Ghana acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Mr. Kris Kpodo.
The whereabouts of the US$3.5 million, which was the remainder of US$24 million realised from the sale of the drill ship after other legal and other fees had been paid, has been a subject of controversy and suspicion of a possible loot of state cash, especially when the Bank of Ghana claimed it had no records of an account into which the money was said to have been paid.
But the man at the centre of the controversy, K.T. Hammond, almost broke down in tears, when he pleaded his innocence at the Judgment Debt Commission.
Almost choking with deep emotions, and as though he was going to burst into tears, K.T told the Commission how his mother was dying in the village, and his family greatly distressed over accusations that he had embezzled the money from the sale of the drill ship.
Although Mr. K.T. Hammond and Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah could not disclose the identity of the person on whose authorisation the remaining US$3.5 million was kept in an escrow account, K.T. Hammond emphasised that he kept to his assignment and instructions by delivering the cheque to Mr. Kpodo.
Mr. Kan Dapaah, who appeared before the commission earlier, pleaded with the Commissioner to defer the question on who authorised the payment to Mr. K.T Hammond, except to say “it is only My Kpodo who can tell.”
When the same question was directed at K.T. Hammond, he also could not give a direct answer, except to say “I was directed by somebody.”
He, however, insisted that he did a lot of due diligence in all the transactions that led to the sale and disbursement of the proceeds, and that his ingenuity in the transactions yielded the best option for Ghana in that circumstance.
“The sale was transparently done,” he told the Commission presided over by Justice Yaw Apau.
– The Chronicle