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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

P.V. Obeng denies involvement in Tema Shipyard rape

Former presidential advisor, P.V. Obeng
Former presidential advisor, P.V. Obeng

A leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. P.V. Obeng has denied any involvement in the PSC Tema Shipyard financial malfeasance.

He has consequently pledged his readiness to submit to any inquiry relating to the matter when he spoke smoke to Joy FM's Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah Tuesday morning.

Mr Obeng, a presidential advisor during the Rawlings-led administration has been cited in an audit report on the accounts of the PSC Tema Shipyard - West Africa’s biggest dry dock facility.

The internal audit was commissioned following agitations by workers of the company that the facility was being mismanaged by its Malaysian managers.

The audit uncovered several financial irregularities with hundreds of thousands of dollars dispensed under questionable circumstances leading to the suspension of the Chief Financial Officer of the company, Mr Mohammed Ismail Bin Lebai Sulaiman.

The audit report said PSC Tema Shipyard for instance, entered into a deal in which it paid SBT Resources Associates a sum of $285,000 ostensibly to facilitate the operations of PSC Tema Shipyard.

The auditors said SBT Resources Associates had no track record of providing the sort of services the company was engaged to provide and that the payments made were questionable.

Responding to the queries of the auditors, Mr Sulaiman admitted that “the scope of work or services to be rendered by SBT in the contract was not carried out.”

He named Mr P.V. Obeng as one of the people he met with through one of the owners of SBT, one Ben Tetteh in an attempt to block moves by the then NPP government to take back the SPC Tema Shipyard which was divested to the Malaysians in 1997.

Mr Obeng admitted knowing Ben Tetteh and meeting with the Malaysian managers of the dry dock company but explained that the Malaysians came to him during the transition to ask of him to facilitate a meeting between their president in Malaysia and the then newly elected president – Prof. J.E.A. Mills.

“I had then heard about the developments at the shipyard because I also live in Tema, so I told them straight away that I did not find that meeting necessary and that surely I didn’t think that was the time to have a meeting” with the president.

The former presidential advisor added; “I advised them to go back and improve their own image as a company that intends to take that national asset and develop it for the national good and I assured them that once they had done that to my satisfaction, I will facilitate any meeting with any member of government if that became necessary.”

Mr Obeng stated that meeting between him and the Malaysians took place in the presence of other people, but could not readily recall any of them.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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