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AG wrote an opinion on AMERI plant relocation, NAPO remains truthful – Energy Ministry replies ACEP

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh234567I Energy Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh

Mon, 15 Aug 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Ministry of Energy has hit back at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) over what it describes as attempts by the think tank to smear the sector minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, of peddling untruth in Parliament over the Ameri plant relocation.

ACEP had through a Right To Information sought to find out if the Attorney General wrote a legal opinion on the EPC contract to relocate the Ameri Plant to Kumasi.

The A-G in response to the request said, “we are unable to provide the information requested on account of the fact that the advice of the Attorney General was not requested for the sole sourcing of the EPC contract on the relocation of the Ameri Power Plant to Kumasi and according the Attorney General did not issue an opinion on the procurement”.

Executive Director of ACEP, Benjamin Boakye, in a Facebook post claimed that the response of the Attorney General contradicted the Energy Minister’s statement before Parliament, that the Attorney General gave an opinion on the transaction.

But responding to assertions by ACEP Executive Director, Communications Specialist with the Energy Ministry, Kofi Abrefa Afena, insisted the was an existing AMERI Relocation Project Contract stating that it was different from the sole sourcing contract on AMERI Relocation Project which the think thank had applied RTI on.

“You wrote to the AG requesting the office to provide you with its opinion on the EPC sole sourcing contract on the AMERI Relocation Project. Now, that is materially distinguishable from the AG's opinion on the AMERI Relocation Project Contract.

“The response from the AG on your request is apt, because it is trite knowledge that, in a decision to sole source a contract, the relevant institution seeks approval from the PPA as required by law with justifiable reasons for same. Your request therefore, Senior, was misplaced and misconceived. The response you got was the response you will get any day. Let me state that, there is indeed in existence, a written opinion from the AG on the AMERI Relocation Project Contract,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

On the seeming banter between the Energy Ministry and ACEP, Kofi Abrefa Afena advised that the policy think tank to back down its advocacy, particularly on the AMERI Plant Relocation contract labeling it as borne out of bad faith.

He maintained that the Energy Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, has at all times been forthright with deals regarding the AMERI Plant and its relocation.

He indicated that the minister has consistently concerned himself with ensuring that lights remained on in every part of the country to keep it moving.

“On the back of the foregoing and the many back and forths between ACEP and the Ministry, I want to believe you will have enough reasons to back down on your advocacy which for me has so far been hinged on bad faith and has been described by many as a "pair trawling mission to find fault", far from what you describe as "anti-corruption and the protection of public interest", on the back of the available evidence.

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh for the avoidance of doubt, has been truthful to Parliament, every step in this transaction and continues to provide full disclosure in the spirit of good governance and democratic accountability. The interest of Dr. Prempeh as Energy Minister is to ensure that the lights are on in every part of our country and the nation is kept moving. He will thus, ensure and is ensuring value for money in every transaction in the supreme interest of the Republic of Ghana,” Kofi Abrefa Afena concluded.

ACEP has over the years raised concerns about the cost of transferring the Ameri Plant to Kumasi, Ashanti Region.

According to the group, the energy sector is saddled with debts thus optimal decisions must be prioritized.

“The power sector's financial situation is worsening every year and requires decisions that, at the barest minimum, reduce the burden and not add on. In 2020 and 2021, the government shouldered total under-recoveries from the sector to over GHS 14 billion (GHS 6.8 billion in 2020, and the cedi equivalent of $1.257 billion in 2021). In addition, the sector's outstanding payments for gas and IPPs are in excess of $1.2 billion (GHS9.6 billion) for the first half of 2022,” ACEP wrote in a statement.

Read below the full post from Kofi Abrefa Afena:

Dear Benjamin Kwabena Boakye,

I have read with shock your unfortunate attempt at creating an impression in the minds of Ghanaians that Energy Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has been untruthful to Parliament regarding the availability of the AG's opinion on the Ameri Relocation Project Contract.

In your statement two days ago, and its corresponding attachments of a response from the AG's office, you clearly, misunderstood the response, which for me is quite surprising because of the abundance of clarity thereof.

You wrote to the AG requesting the office to provide you with its opinion on the EPC sole sourcing contract on the AMERI Relocation Project. Now, that is materially distinguishable from the AG's opinion on the AMERI Relocation Project Contract.

The response from the AG on your request is apt, because it is trite knowlege that, in a decision to sole source a contract, the relevant institution seeks approval from the PPA as required by law with justifiable reasons for same.

Your request therefore, Senior, was misplaced and misconceived. The response you got was the response you will get any day.

Let me state that, there is indeed in existence, a written opinion from the AG on the AMERI Relocation Project Contract.

As has been said countlessly, the relocation of the AMERI Power Plant from Takoradi to Kumasi comes on the back of a Grid impact study done by GRIDCo 10 years ago, that a Power Plant is needed in Kumasi for power stability in the northern belt of our country. This obviously, way, predates Dr. Prempeh as Energy Minister. The technical implications and the positives thereof, I believe is not lost on you. Let me rehash unequivocally, that, no contract has yet been signed and therefore engaging you on figures will amount to a phantomised wild goose chase.

Senior, on the back of the foregoing and the many back and forths between ACEP and the Ministry, I want to believe you will have enough reasons to backdown on your advocacy which for me has so far been hinged on bad faith and has been described by many as a "pair trawling mission to find fault", far from what you describe as "anti-corruption and the protection of public interest", on the back of the available evidence.

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh for the avoidance of doubt, has been truthful to Parliament, at every step in this transaction and continues to provide full disclosure in the spirit of good governance and democratic accountability.

The interest of Dr. Prempeh as Energy Minister is to ensure that the lights are on in every part of our country and the nation is kept moving. He will thus, ensure and is ensuring value for money in every transaction in the supreme interest of the Republic of Ghana.

Kind regards,

Kofi Abrefa Afena

Communications Specialist, Ministry of Energy.

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DS/MA

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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