Whatup News has seen reconnaissance video showing that the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has covered up the arrest of several crew members aboard a vessel that smuggled petroleum products from Nigeria to Ghana in June 2020.
The ship named “Dende” was allegedly delivering over 50,000 metric tonnes of stolen product worth some US$10 million to some bigwigs at the Presidency at the Jubilee House.
In the video, at least five crew of European or Middle Eastern stock and another five Africans were seen rounded up by a group of Takoradi Port security operatives.
However, in a June 29, 2020 memo from the GRA, Customs Division claim when the ship was intercepted, the only crew member aboard the ship managed to cause the capsizing of the Naval Boat escorting him to the Naval base for interrogation and swarm away in the high seas.
“The Dende was escorted to the Western Naval Base dock. It was reported that one person among the crew was arrested, however, during the escort, the Naval Boat capsized and the suspect absconded during the rescue operation. No casualties were recorded,” read the Memo referenced TK/MISC/003 and signed by one Rudolf Akumatey, the Acting Investigator for the GRA at the Takoradi Port.
However, maverick journalist, Kevin Ekow Taylor who broke the news said he has further evidence to prove that President Akufo Addo was named as the one who actually put pressure on GRA authorities to cover up the fuel stealing scandal.
Apparently, Col Kwadwo Damoah (rtd), the Commissioner of Customs at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is captured in a yet-to-be-released secret audio and video recordings admitting that after some vessels carrying smuggled petroleum were arrested at the Takoradi Port, President Akufo Addo put pressure on him to cause the release of those vessels and essentially the crew aboard them.
Indeed, in response to the first series of exposé of this Jubilee House petroleum smuggling cartel, Col. Damoah, through his officer in charge of Public Relations, Florence Asante, release a statement seeking to debunk the allegation of high-profile petroleum bunkering. In the statement, the GRA conveniently forget to mention that some individuals have been arrested and only created the impression that only the smuggling ship Dende was arrested.
“The vessel Dende together with the fuel is currently in the custody of the Ghana Navy at the Western Naval Base,” the statement from Ms. Florence Asante read. There was no mention of any crew.
According to Kevin Taylor who is working with foreign intelligence and Nigerian investigative journalists to track the fuel smuggling reportedly authorised by the Jubilee House, there has been about 17 such smuggling vessels that have so far delivered their contraband products to Ghana on the blind side of Ghanaians authorities.
“I want Ghanaians to understand the rot happening between the Jubilee House and the Takoradi and Tema Ports…Some people have made it their plan to bring in stolen oil from Nigeria-from terrorists and making millions every month,” Kevin Taylor warned.
According to the investigations, anytime, these vessels are “intercepted” their contents are secretly offloaded and passed into the Ghanaians petroleum supply chain without its registering in official records.
“There are some terrorists in Nigeria having this deal with Ghanaians and these people are in the Jubilee House…I have the commissioner on video and on audio, trying to force people-intimidating people that the President in the Jubilee House is pressurising you to make sure that these oils are offloaded.”
Whatsup News has seen some of these leaked documents covering two incidents in May and June 2020.
The first document shows an incident that happened early May 2020, where a well-known smuggling vessel “MT RANDL” was intercepted at the Takoradi Port but was questionably released by the Col. Damoah and his assistant, Bob Senyalah.
On May 7, 2020, Rudolf Akumatey, the Acting Customs Investigator at the Takoradi Port wrote a memo recounting a damning incident of how MT RANDL was intercepted
“Investigations so far has established that the vessel in question “MT RANDL” was intercepted at the Takoradi Port… the vessel was found to be laden with petroleum product. From the facts gathered so far, there seems to be an intent to smuggle the said petroleum product…The owner of the cargo, one Ebenezer Eshun, intimated that the vessel was bound for La Cote D’Ivoire, there is no evidential proof of that,” Rudolf Akumatey wrote.
In spite of all the evidence that the vessel was smuggling stolen petroleum into Ghana, on May 11, Bob Senyalah, under instruction from the Customs Commissioner Col. Damoah wrote a memo that essentially released the smuggling vessel to go free, referencing that the vessel was just a “rickety” ship.
“The Vessel was “intercepted” in the territorial waters of Ghana….In the light of the Ghana Maritime Authority representative reference to the “the rickety state of the ship and the possible environmental hazards it could pose” it may be recommended that the vessel be released to continue its journey to Abidjan, La Cote d’Ivoire,” Bob Senyalah wrote.
In June 2020, the exact same scenario involving another petroleum smuggling vessel “Dende” was reported again at the Takoradi Port. That vessel was also left off the hook after the fuel aboard were secretly offloaded.
A memo from Ag. Investigator at the Customs Division Rudolf Akumatey dated June 29, 2020, reported the arrest of “Dende”.
“It was arrested at the Nkontonmpo anchorage at Takoradi on routine anchorage patrols by Naval Patrol Team on 28th June 2020 at about 0430HRS for suspicion of carrying uncustomed petroleum product,” the investigator reported. On that same day, the Sector Commander of Customs at the Takoradi Port, Gloria Farmer confirmed the interception in a memo.
Ken Ofori-Atta Hiding True Value of Ghana’s Royalties to Gift Fraudulent Agyapa-CSOs
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have exposed the Akufo Addo administration for deliberately under-reporting the true value of Ghana’s annual mineral royalties, so that it can make a takeover easy for the scandalous Agyapa Royalty deal.
Apparently, the government has slashed off some US$ 50 million from the true value of royalties that came to Ghana in 2019.
According to them, the data seen is from the Chamber of Mines show that Ghana made some US$ 200 million in 2019, but the Ken Ofori-Atta-led Ministry of Finance is reporting US$ 150 million as figures presented to facilitate the scandalous Agyapa deal.
On Tuesday, during a press briefing, Dr Steve Manteaw who speaks for over 22 CSOs in Ghana narrated how the Ministry of Finance was deliberately shielding the true picture of royalty receipts from the Ghanaian public.
“At our last meeting with the Ministry, some slides containing some data were presented. However, when we requested for copies, those particular slides of interest to us were omitted either deliberately or inadvertently. When a direct question was posed to the Deputy Minister of Finance on the amount of royalties received from gold in 2019, he said Ghana received about ¢650 million ($123 million),” Dr. Manteaw narrated.
“The truth is that Ghana received ¢1.06 billion ($200 million) from the big companies under the Chamber of Mines alone. Government has data on the other receipts, yet it decided to under-report the numbers. Again, in our meeting with the Finance Ministry, we were given half-year receipts for 2019 of $72 million (¢366 million). The underreporting of the 2019 revenue which is the most significant period for revenue projection and emphasis on old royalty numbers is intriguing,” Dr Manteaw added.
Speaking on the same allegation, the Deputy Executive Director for Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye confirmed the deliberate cover-up by the Akufo Addo administration.
The Agyapa/Asaase Royalties deal has been fraught in extremely questionable antics, since its inception, including the fact that almost all the key players in the deal are somehow connected to the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta and the Presidency, including President Akufo Addo’s cousin and right-hand-man, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko.
Indeed, recently, the global Watchdog for illegal offshore capital movement has flagged Ghana’s controversial Agyapa Royalty deal as fraudulent and an attempt by its promoters to rob Ghana of its resources and hand it over to “Shadow Bankers” on Wall Street.
Under the deal, the Minerals Investment Fund supposedly uses Agyapa Minerals Royalties as a Special Purpose Vehicle, to borrow US$1billion from investors through listing on the London Stock Exchange, using government’s royalty receipts from mining companies as collateral.
Interestingly, the Agyapa which is the Special Purpose Vehicle for the supposed monetization was registered in a notorious tax haven in Jersey on the British Channel Islands.
The deal is however shrouded in so much secrecy that even the Minority in Parliament do not know who the Directors of the SPV or investors are even though the law has been crafted in such a way that overseas directors of Agyapa which will be incorporated in a tax haven in the UK (Jersey) cannot be removed in future. This is in spite of the fact that these overseas directors will have control over the local subsidiary of called Agyapa Royalties Ghana (ARG).