Former Minister of Power, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, has rubbished a report by the special committee led by Lawyer Philip Addision to look into the erstwhile government’s deal with AMERI.
According to him, the report is full of factual inaccuracies and lacks objectivity.Speaking at a press conference in Accra on the matter, Mr. Donkor said the committee itself had been involved in shady deals with AMERI, hence does not have the moral right to question the erstwhile government’s dealings.
He said, “who should bear the allegation of fraud? The agreement went through cabinet, the committee on mines and energy recommended by consensus to plenary and was passed by parliament. Was parliament party to this fraud? Is the plant not running and operational? Does it not have the cheapest tariff of all the thermal plans in the country? First of all, there was no fraud. The committee cannot use the relationship between the development and the contractors as the basis of fraud.”
Kwabena Donkor added that, “If there was fraud, why wouldn’t the committee recommend straight away the termination of the contract and take criminal action, but why recommend that you are inviting them back to the table for negotiations. And only if they don’t agree, then you will introduce fraud.”
A 17-member committee constituted by the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, and chaired by lawyer Philip Addison, said it had discovered many lapses in the contract, which was worth $510 million, and was signed by the John Mahama government.
Among other things, the committee said the government fraudulently paid an extra $150 million in the AMERI power plant deal.
It noted that, the contractor, PPR, actually built and financed the plant at a cost of $360 million, yet AMERI, which secured the deal, forwarded a bill of $510 million in the agreement with government.
But according to Mr. Donkor, the committee failed to invite relevant individuals in the previous government to help it acquire the full details about the agreement.
“The committee did not find it necessary to either invite the then minister in charge or his deputy to provide relevant information that will help its work. Neither myself as the then sector Minister who piloted this agreement through parliament or my deputy was invited by this committee and yet against the rules of natural justice, the committee goes ahead to allege fraud,” he said.
A former Head of Communications at the Ministry of Petroleum, Edward Bawa, in a previous interview with Citi News said the extra $150 million was a commission that was included in the original Bills of Quantity submitted to undertake the service, and was paid because AMERI was “not a charity organisation” hence had to be paid for its work.
Mr. Donkor also pledged the Minority National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) support to ensure a strong energy sector.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana