MINORITY Caucus in Parliament has challenged the Akufo-Addo-led government to go to court or terminate the Ameri Power deal if they are convinced that the agreement was fraudulent.
The former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, threw the challenge at a media briefing in Accra yesterday.
Dr. Donkor, who was reacting to an unsigned report purported to have been commissioned and received by the Ministry of Energy, maintained that due diligence was conducted in the purchasing of the plant.
Thus, he could not understand why the previous government was being accused of wrongdoing.
He emphasised that “the Ameri Power deal agreement went through Cabinet and Parliament’s Committee on Mines and Energy. The Committee after going through the documents and other available information recommended for the approval of the deal by consensus and was passed by the Committee of the Whole on the floor of Parliament.
“If the so-called Phillip Addison Committee which nobody knew when it was formed, their mandate, who constituted the committee, thinks there was fraud, why wouldn’t the committee recommend straight away a legal action and take criminal action against those involved or the termination of the contract,” Dr. Donkor urged.
He maintained that there was no fraud and if indeed there is an issue of fraud, “then Parliament is party to it because the deal was sent there and taken through the necessary audits before it was signed.”
“Indeed, if there was fraud as they are claiming, why wouldn’t the Committee recommend straight away that criminal action should be taken against whoever is involved and rather inviting them (AMERI) back to the negotiation table and only if they don’t agree, you will terminate the contract,” he stated.
Dr. Donkor was of the view that the Addison Committee report did not represent what was negotiated in the deal.
The Minority also wondered why the Committee did not invite any member of the team that negotiated the contract or members of the previous administration to clarify issues.
Hon. Rockson Dafiamekpor, who is a member of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, noted that upon careful examination of the said report it was clearly evidenced that there was a deliberate and calculated attempt by the Addison-led Committee to paint the previous administration black.
It would be recalled that the NDC government signed an emergency power agreement in February 2015, between government of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Power and Ameri Energy, to ameliorate the country’s power challenges at the time.
But the New Patriotic Party (NPP), then in opposition, indicated the cost of the project was outrageously high and called for investigations into the deal which was never done.
Upon assumption of office, the Nana Akufo-Addo government set up a 17-member committee to look into the Ameri deal.
The committee, led by private legal practitioner, Mr. Phillip Addison, in its report, disclosed that it found technical and financial lapses in the contract.
On the financial side, the committee found out that although AMERI secured the deal, the developer that built and financed the plant charged $360million yet AMERI forwarded a bill of $510million in the agreement.
The committee said this was not equitable and recommended that operators of the plant should be invited back to the negotiating table to address and remedy the issues enumerated in this report.
The Addison committee also advised that “in the event that Ameri Energy refuses to come to the negotiation table, government should repudiate the Agreement on the grounds of fraud”.
These recommendations are what the Minority Caucus in Parliament was kicking against, saying the deal cannot be said to be fraudulent because it went through the right processes.
By: Franklin Asare-Donkoh