Gov’t erred in unilaterally suspending PDS concession – Steve Manteaw
Chairman of the Coalition of Stakeholders on Electricity Contracts and Arrangements (COCECA), Dr. Steve Manteaw says the government should have consulted the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) before suspending the Power Distribution Services (PDS) concession.
According to him, even if the allegation of fraud is proven against PDS, the government of Ghana cannot take unilateral actions against the company.
Speaking at a public forum in Accra, Dr. Steve Manteaw said government erred by suspending the deal.
“Even if the allegation of fundamental breaches is proven against PDS, the government cannot act unilaterally and pick a decision to abandon the concession especially if it still wants to take advantage of the American support for it. This means that we will as a necessity engage the Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC) and obtain their endorsement before going ahead to terminate the contract. If this becomes the case, then we may resort to an option where the concession is resubmitted to tender. On the other hand, if we do not received the MCC’s approval and still go ahead to terminate the contract, then we stand to lose the MCC’s package and we will be back to where we started with ECG firmly in the driver’s seat.”
PDS took over from the ECG in February 2019 after winning a bid to run the power distribution in Ghana as part of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) compact which was signed in 2014.
The deal saw the 20-year concession of the Electricity Company of Ghana Ltd (ECG) to PDS.
But government officials have noted possible fraud in the deal with reports of a forged document being involved in the deal, hence the suspension of the agreement.
The Minority in Parliament has also petitioned the US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, demanding full-scale investigations by the US government into the suspension.
They say, the government is already ‘confused’ on how to deal decisively with the matter.
But the US government says it awaits an independent forensic audit of the PDS concession deal authorised by MiDA Board of Directors before it makes a decision on the matter.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has however indicated that the petition was needless since the American government had expressed its confidence in the government’s ability to conduct a fair investigation.
Indications are that the government is also engaged in a probe of its own which it hopes to conclude at the end of August.