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Business News Wed, 26 Apr 2017

Dubai trip was for negotiations - Addison

Chairman of the 17-member Committee delegated by Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko to review the AMERI power deal has stated that the team went to Dubai to renegotiate the transaction and not probe it.

Mr Philip Addison indicated that even though the committee’s travelling expenses were paid by AMERI Energy, the government of Ghana paid for their per diems contrary to earlier claims by the Minority that AMERI footed their per diem apart from sponsoring their trip.

“We were not going to investigate AMERI, we were going to have negotiations, not investigations and there was no antagonistic relationship so they freely offered to take up the bill,” he told Paul Adom-Otchere on Good Evening Ghana on Tuesday, April 25.

He continued: “I don’t understand why so much noise is being made about it. So here we are saying that AMERI owes us close to $200m, so if it is that they picked the bills of tickets and hotels, what will that amount to that it becomes an issue?”

Mr Addison further revealed that even though members of the committee are lawyers, they went in their capacity as individuals appointed by government to negotiate a deal for the state, emphasising that they were not given any cash amounts or any per diems by AMERI as those were provided by the government of Ghana.

It would be recalled that former Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor revealed that the flight costs and hotel accommodation of the committee delegated to have discussions with AMERI Energy, as part of a probe into the deal signed between the John Mahama government and the company in Dubai, were borne by the Dubai-based firm.

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According to him, this is an indication of the lack of morality on the part of the committee, which reported that the AMERI deal was inflated by $150 million by the Mahama administration.

The deal was for the supply of gas turbines to Ghana, which were to provide additional power to the national grid to ease the load shedding exercise that plagued the country at the time.

Denying any wrong doing in the deal by the erstwhile administration at a press conference in parliament on Monday, 3 April, Dr Donkor, who is also Member of Parliament for Pru East, said: “The (Addison) committee claimed there was no legal opinion from the Attorney General’s Department, but the Attorney General’s Department was strongly represented throughout the negotiations by both professional staff and management. The final agreement was witnessed by the deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

“We will pledge our support to the government as long as the issues of energy are being resolved in the national interest, but if they introduce partisanship in this way, much against our wish, we will be forced to respond.

“Members of the Addison Committee, including Mr Addison, visited Dubai, they had meetings with AMERI even after this report was written. We will want to ask: who paid for their tickets?. Who paid for the hotel accommodation that they used? We have the evidence that AMERI Energy paid for their hotel, AMERI Energy paid for their flight tickets. If you are going to investigate someone, do they pay for your tickets and pay for your accommodation and host you? We are in a country of law, our side will not want to see an energy sector divided between NDC and NPP and, therefore, they should be candid with us.”

Source: AccraFM.com
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