IMANI Africa says it has not committed an offence which requires that it renders an apology to bulk oil distribution firm, Fueltrade.

The company demanded an apology from the policy think tank after its Senior Vice President, Kofi Bentil, asked whether CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong is conflicted in an agreement between the Corporation and Fueltrade.

According to Mr Bentil if claims of conflict of interest turn out to be true, then the position of Dr Sarpong as head of GNPC, which is the government’s chief negotiator on oil matters, raises questions.

The GNPC boss in a press release described the claim as false and denied involvement with the firm asking for a retraction and apology to be rendered in two weeks.

Fueltrade in a similar rebuttal refuted the allegations stating that its shareholders are Messrs Chris Chinebuah and Dzifa French Cudjoe, who have the full legal and beneficial interest in the company.

“Fueltrade categorically states that it is not legally or beneficially owned by Dr K. K. Sarpong and/or his family,” the statement said.

Dr. K.K Sarpong

Dr K.K. Sarpong

According to them, in pronouncing Fueltrade as unethical and as being involved in an unethical business (based on untruths) and for ulterior motives, Imani Africa and Kofi Bentil have caused embarrassment and reputational damage to the company.

“We have instructed our lawyers to make a demand for a retraction and apology from them. If no such show of remorse materialises, we will take all steps to protect our business and hard-earned reputation,” the company said.

But it appears this may not happen.

On Joy FM’s Top Story, Friday, Mr Bentil defended the comments he made during the press conference.

He explained that in the process of gathering their information for the press conference, certain names kept coming up suggesting Dr Sarpong had something to do with Fueltrade.

“When we checked, Fueltrade’s directors did not include Dr K.K. Sarpong, however, we were also presented with other information that it is possible that he had this control or that control. All of which we were not prepared to take on face value.

“So we made a careful point of saying, it is alleged that there is control on this side, and we used the word ‘we need it to be clarified because if it is so then it constitutes a conflict of interest,’” he added.

In his view, the issues were raised in order that Dr Sarpong can clear his name – which he has done.

“We did not mention Fueltrade in any derogatory light and we did not seek to do so. We think that the careful choice of our words, do not constitute defamation of Dr Sarpong,” he said.

He believes it is good that the GNPC CEO has said he has nothing to do with the company, “we accept that and we can move on from there. If anybody raises his name, we can refer them to his own denial of control.

“…by saying that it is alleged that there is a problem and asking for clarification, we have committed an offence for which there has to be an apology,” he added.