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Kwabena Donkor grilled over $510m ‘stinking’ AMERI deal

KT Hammond And Dr Kwabena Donkor Ameri KT Hammond and Dr. Kwabena Donkor

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 Source: dailyguideafrica.com

After two hours of grilling of the former Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor, by the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament at its special sitting to look into the AMERI Energy contract on Friday, the ex-minister conceded that the Africa & Middle East Resources Investment Group LLC (AMERI) was smart in making a windfall of $150 million from that contract.

According to him, it would not be out of place for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to re-engage AMERI Energy and re-negotiate the contract – which yielded the windfall of $150 million from a $510 million contract for the company.

AMERI later gave the contract to Power Project Sanayi, Turkey, without investing a pesewa into it, and it was signed between the Government of Ghana – headed by then President Mahama – and AMERI Energy.

Dr Kwabena Donkor, however, said that the government, in thinking of renegotiating the contract, must be tactical and careful about the nature of the re-negotiation because of the possible repercussion on direct foreign investment in the country.

Dr Donkor, who was the minister under whose term the agreement was signed between AMERI and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration in 2015, told the committee that due diligence was observed in the award of the contract.

The former energy minister, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Pru East in the Brong-Ahafo Region, travelled with then President John Mahama as chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee to sign the contract with a different power company in the Middle East, only to return with a deal with AMERI and Mahama created the Ministry of Power for him (Donkor) to head as minister.

He indicated that even though due diligence was done under the emergency situation, which resulted in the enormous reaping of profit by AMERI Energy, things could have been done more critically and differently to ensure that there was greater value for money, if it had not been an emergency situation.

Dr Donkor was subjected to a barrage of questions by the committee members, which included the MP for Adansi Asokwa, K.T. Hammond – who is calling for the cancellation of the contract because of alleged fraud – MP for Trobu, Moses Anim; MP for Abirem, John Frimpong Osei; MP for Kwadaso, Dr Samiu Kwadwo Nuamah; MP for Tarkwa/Nsuaem, George Mireku Duker; Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, with the chairman of the committee, Emmanuel Akwasi Gyamfi, MP for Odotobri, presiding.

NDC members on the committee are boycotting the sitting, saying that revocation of the contract by parliament was not the way to go, if elements of fraud had been detected.

Mr K.T Hammond last week Wednesday moved that parliament should withdraw the agreement due to what he called, “misrepresentations” by the company.

Dr Donkor was grilled over why the government opted to engage AMERI after the Volta River Authority (VRA) had recommended that the project could have been done by the government at the cost of $411 million.

He was also grilled over why AMERI, which signed the contract with consent of equity and raising loan to finance the project, eventually assigned the contract to AMRI Energy Power Equipment Trading LLC and further to Power Project Sananyi without the consent of the government.

Mr Hammond, at the committee hearing, advised the former minister to be wary of the kind of lawyer he was engaging for any legal advice on the matter since the former minister had said that the assignment of contract particularly to Power Project Sanayi of Turkey with partial consent by the government, did not violate the overall contract.

The chairman of the committee, Emmanuel Gyamfi, told DAILY GUIDE that the committee would do a thorough and professional job for parliament.

According to him, it (committee) had received a lot of information from some other sources, which he said he was not ready to disclose because of the nature of the investigation being undertaken by the committee.

He gave the assurance that the committee would critically analyse every piece of volunteered information to be able to produce a report that would stand the test of time.

AMERI Fights Back

Meanwhile, AMERI says its 2015 agreement with Ghana for the provision of a power plant offered the “best value for money,” despite the $150 million rip-off claim.

AMERI, in a statement following an appearance before the Mines and Energy Committee on Friday, said the government has the right to review the deal if it feels it is being ripped off.

“AMERI acknowledges that the Government of Ghana has every right to assess all public contracts for value of money or quality of delivery. The company strongly believes the project delivered on both. An independent report by renowned auditors – PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) – found that, out of 7 similar projects, the AMERI plant at Takoradi offered the best value for money,” the statement indicated.

According to the committee charged to review, restructure and recommend areas of amendment of the AMERI power deal, the company, in its agreement with the government dated February 10, 2015, is said to have charged Ghana significantly higher than what it was charged by the Turkish company – PPR – which financed and executed the project.

The Turkish firm pegged the total cost of the project at a maximum of $360 million.

Source: dailyguideafrica.com
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