General News of Tue, 14 Nov 201788
AfDB disowns Mahama over AMERI deal
The Norwegian newspaper that is tailing former President John Dramani Mahama over his supposed links with Africa Middle East Resources Investment Group LLC (AMERI) has indicated that the African Development Bank (AfDB) did not send Mr Mahama to Namibia as claimed by him.
According to the award-winning newspaper called VG, Mr. Mahama had visited Namibian President Hage Geingob in Windhoek and presented himself as an AfDB advocate for African energy self-sufficiency, but its investigation turned out that the continental bank does not have any hand in the former president’s visit where he took AMERI to the Southern African country.
The latest report was filed on VG’s website: www.vg.no by the newspaper’s journalists – ROLF J. WIDERØE, AMUND BAKKE FOSS and SYNNØVE ÅSEBØ – on Sunday, November 12 at 20 hours GMT and updated yesterday at 12:19 pm.
According to VG – which has been investigating the AMERI/Mahama link over the past two years – it obtained information from AfDB’s office in Tunis, the Tunisian capital, indicating that the bank didn’t sanction Ghana’s ex-president’s visit to the Southern African country.
“For some time VG has been seeking to clarify Mahama’s role in the African Development Bank, as well as the bank’s role in Mahama’s Namibiam visit,” the private newspaper reported.
“At first Chawki Chahed, a communication officer at the bank, replied that Mahama had been named a ‘goodwill ambassador’ by the bank. But in a follow-up inquiry, when VG provided new information on Mahama’s unusual collaboration, the development bank backed away, claiming it had nothing to do with Mahama’s visit at all,” the newspaper said.
The paper stated, “This time it was the bank’s director of communication and external relations, Victor Oladokun, who replied.”
VG: What is the bank’s comment on these findings about Mr John Mahama?
AfDB: Former President John Mahama does not represent the Bank, neither is the Bank involved in his business dealings. Once again, we categorically state that the African Development Bank has no knowledge of nor is it engaged in any transactions involving the parties you have indicated. None of the said transactions have been done in the name of the Bank.
VG: Why does the African Development Bank allow Mr Mahama – in his capacity as the bank’s goodwill ambassador – to work for such a company as AMERI Group/the private office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum?
AfDB: The Bank does not have an official position or ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ title. Rather, we encourage leaders to use their goodwill to speak up for Africa’s accelerated development, whenever they have opportunities to do so. The African Development Bank does not know of and neither does it work with nor have any relationship with the group mentioned in your correspondence.
The newspaper had published on Saturday, “According to the Namibian authorities, it was Mahama who initiated the meeting and brought the two men from the controversial Dubai company to Namibia.”
VG: Can you guarantee that this is not corruption?
Oladokun (AfDB): The Bank has zero tolerance for corruption. Like all multilateral finance institutions, the African Development Bank takes a very strict stand on corruption at any and all levels. Through an integrity and anti-corruption department, the Bank imposes stiff penalties that debar any company engaged in corrupt practices from participating in any work with the Bank,”
According to the paper, “When former Ghanaian President John Mahama collaborated with the controversial AMERI Group in Namibia, he used the African Development Bank as a door opener. The influential bank now says it had nothing to do with the visit.
“John Mahama presented himself as a representative of the development bank when he travelled to Namibia with a tempting offer in July. The aim of the visit, he claimed, was to help companies from Dubai to gain a foothold in Namibia’s energy sector.
“The former president asserted that the African Development Bank had identified Namibia as one of five countries that could produce energy and export it to other African countries in the future,”
On Saturday, VG reported that the former president of Ghana had brought to the meeting in Namibia two men from a highly controversial company, the private office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum.
This company owns AMERI Group. Umar Farooq Zahoor, an Oslo man, accused of fraud, plays a key role in the company.
In 2015 AMERI Group signed a $520 million massive energy contract in Ghana while Mahama was president.
The contract has caused a political row in Ghana and has been described as fraudulent by a government-appointed committee because of overpricing to the tune of $150 million going to wrong hands.
The newspaper reported, “Neither Mr. Mahama nor AMERI Group has replied to VG’s request for interviews about this topic.”