The US Embassy in Accra refused a visa to the Ghana Minister of Energy in March and refused a visa for the Chairman of the GNPC, Ghana National Petroleum Commission, to visit the US.

US and Ghana are in a diplomatic row in which it appears … that the US government is consciously targeting some key government officials for standing in the way of American interests in Ghana.

[An official of GNPC] is reported to have told insiders that a consular officer at the US embassy told him that GNPC was “Anti- American”

Map of Ghana offshore oil fields including Jubilee and Dzata

Of course the job of the GNPC is to enable Ghana to make the best use of Ghana’s petroleum resources for the benefit of the Ghanaian people, not the American people. It is trying to correct some unethical deals involving Kosmos, the EO Group, and Exxon, that would have caused financial loss to Ghana. If the US acknowleges the sovereignty of sovereign nations, it needs to respect Ghana’s sovereignty. If the US does not respect Ghanaian sovereignty, and it appears that it does not, its motives and methods are a clear and obvious throwback to colonialism.

The US has a very bad record when it comes to undermining and destabilizing governments that are not doing what the US wants, or when they are perceived by some as standing in the way of American interests. In this case, as in most, it is American corporate interests. Exxon wanted to buy the Kosmos share of Ghana’s oil. This move by the US Embassy in denying visas to Ghanaians who are critical to the Ghana oil industry is very worrisome. In what other ways is the US Embassy working against the interests of the Ghanaian people and the current Ghanaian government? This is a grave and dangerous development.

Ghana is generally very pro American. But Ghanaians do not wish to be pushed around. And most Ghanaians are familiar with the fact that the US Embassy and the American CIA played a major role in the events leading to the overthrow of Nkrumah. The destructive ramifications of that action still reverberate throughout the continent. Ghana would not welcome this kind of interference again. I doubt other countries would look on it favorably.

In addition the US Africa Command has been very active and very controversial in Ghana. Most Ghanaians think that AFRICOM is in Ghana and in the rest of Africa to secure oil and other natural resources for the United States. Since that is the reason the command was created, there is some justification for this view. The US Africa Command maintains a local headquarters in the US Embassy in Accra, and is deeply involved in what it calls partnering with a variety of Ghanaian military activities.

You will find some more background on Kosmos and Ghana oil here, EO -Kosmos Rip-Off Exposed with a list of links bottom that provide more background and context .

While the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) toiled over the years in pursuit of a vision that others described as a mirage, their critics were quietly lining up to plunder ‘the spoils.’

As the controversy over how the E.O. Group a Ghanaian company, came by 3.5% carried interest in US-based Kosmos Energy’s initial 90% stake in the West Cape Three Points (WCTP) rages on, it has emerged that the Kufuor administration lowered the finishing tape for Kosmos Energy and EO Group at the expense of our beloved Ghana.

As part of its vision of ensuring that Ghana maximized its earnings from harnessing the country’s hydrocarbon potential, GNPC, since the 1980s, evolved a model petroleum agreement, which has served as a blue print for preparing petroleum agreements to license its blocks of oil fields to oil companies that came to explore for the ‘black gold’ in Ghana.

Whereas under previous petroleum agreements, royalties had been pegged between 10% – 12.5%, this was slashed to 5% under the Petroleum Agreement the Kufuor Government and GNPC signed with Kosmos Energy, and their E.O. partners. GNPC participation interest, a provision in petroleum agreements, which allows GNPC to acquire additional stake in the event of a commercial find, used to be 10%-15%, under previous petroleum agreements. However, this was also slashed down to 2.5%, under the petroleum agreement signed with Kosmos-E.O. Group, leaving it standing like a sore thumb, when matched against all other petroleum agreements, including those subsequently signed with other companies under the Kufuor regime.

The Managing Director of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, has said the corporation’s decision to acquire the Kosmos Energy stake in the Jubilee Field, is necessary and critical to ensuring that Ghanaians derived the maximum benefits from the country’s oil resources. According to the GNPC boss, the state oil corporation, has already secured the necessary funding to acquire the stakes, and were in discussions with Kosmos Energy, who voluntarily decided to sell their stakes.

GNPC’s Chief Economic Evaluation and Monitoring Officer, Mr. Kwame Ntow Amoah … emphasized the need for GNPC to acquire the Kosmos Energy stake in Ghana’s oil fields and explained that apart from the 10% initial carried interest, GNPC has exercised its right of acquiring additional interests in the Jubilee field. He explained that apart from these, royalties and income tax earnings from the oil sale would leave the nation with over 50% of the profits from the oil.

This is a much better deal for Ghana.

Here is the full article about the denial of US visas to Ghanian officials.

US & Ghana In Diplomatic Row

…Energy Minister & Atto Ahwoi denied visa.
..Govt. Fingers oil Politics

There is a growing nerve racking diplomat anxiety between some top ranks of the Ghana government towards the US Embassy in Accra, resulting in suspicion that the US government is consciously targeting some key government officials for standing in the way of American interest in Ghana.

On the controversy scale, the row has reached almost showdown levels, with some key government officials threatening to boycott travels to the US.

There are serious murmurings within the corridors of the Ministry of Energy and GNPC that their insistence on exercising their right of first purchase of the oil interest of Kosmos Energy as against the company’s attempt to sell it’s oil interest to a fellow American company -Exxon Mobil (albeit through the backdoor) appears to have angered the US Embassy who are allegedly employing “embarrassing” diplomatic retaliatory tools targeted at key personalities in the energy sector.

According to The Enquirer’s deep throat sources, The Minister of Energy, Dr. Oteng Adjei, who was leading a government delegation to the USA to attend a meeting with Blackstone and Warburg Pincus the financiers of Kosmos Energy was on March 27th, this year denied visa.

The Energy Minister had applied for the visa with his diplomatic passport. Sources say, the embassy’s actions angered Osu Castle, the seat of Ghana’s Presidency, and that it took the personal intervention of the usually quiet and genteel Chief of Staff of Henry Martey Newman to secure a travelling visa for the Minister.

On May 7th, 2010, Mr. Atto Ahwoi, Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), who returned from the USA last March, was refused visa by the embassy. Mr. Ahwoi has travelled to the US about 20 times and attended Harvard University in the United States, so many years ago.

When The Enquirer contacted Mr. Ahwoi, he confirmed that the embassy had refused him a Non Immigrant Visa and expressed his surprise at what he called the surprising attitude of the embassy to certain key government people.

When he was asked the reason for the refusal, he read out a letter given to him and signed by an unnamed consular officer which among other things stated that: “You have been temporally refused a visa under INA Section 221G, as you lack certain documents or information needed to reach a decision in your case. For further instructions please refer to the Checked Box below” he read out.

He continued that the checked box read “We need to verify certain documents you have given us or statements you have made. We will contact you at the telephone numbers you provided us as soon as investigations are completed. There is nothing else you need to do at this stage”

When asked whether he shared sentiments that his refusal had anything to with his position on the Kosmos-Energy deal, he said that could be the only reason. “This is about the 20th time I have been to the US, I schooled in the US, I attended Harvard University, At my age, I will not be migrating to the US, why this sudden change” he said.

Early this year, a top officer of GNPC working within the Human Resource Department was also refused travelling visa whilst attempting to travel to US on official assignment.

The official is reported to have told insiders that a consular officer at the US embassy told him that GNPC was “Anti- American”

US EMBASSY RESPONDS

When The Enquirer contacted the US Embassy for comments, Mr. Benjamin East, Information Officer stated that the embassy had no comments to all the issues raised above.

In a telephone and email response the embassy said “The response at bottom applies to the three parts of your question, as I understand it, ie:

1. That the Embassy refused a visa to the Minister of Energy in March, which was issued eventually due to intervention by the Chief of Staff.

2. That the Embassy refused a visa for the Chairman of the GNPC.

3. That the visa cases cited above are a response by the U.S. Government to recent actions/decisions taken with regards to Kosmos’ sale of its Jubilee stake to Exxon”.

RESPONSE:

“U.S. law prohibits the Embassy from commenting on individual visa cases.” Mr. Ahwoi, told The Enquirer that “I have decided I wont go there again, any American who wants to do business with us, must come here”