The Government of Ghana (GoG), Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Millenium Development Authority (MIDA), International Financial Consortium (IFC) as well as the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) are to be questioned in the on-going investigations into a detection of breaches in concession agreement of the Power Distribution Service (PDS) ABC News Ghana can report.In the heat of the on-going debate as to who should be blamed for the allegedly ‘fraudulent’ act of the PDS, the Information Minister has advised Ghanaians not to rush to conclusions on who or what should be blamed for the situation.
The Minister, who was speaking in an interview with Citi Fm’s Umaru Sanda revealed that all persons who are involved in superintending the concession agreement will be invited for questioning.
The list includes the Government of Ghana, The Millenium Development Authority, The Millenium Challenge Compact, The Electricity Company of Ghana and the International Finance Corporation.
“It will be important at this stage to allow, and I think it’s not healthy to quickly rush into concluding the matter now, especially as there is a full-scale inquiry going on…so that we can determine the nature of the breach. Everybody has questions to answer, MIDA, IFC, MCC, GOG ECG as well as the team that were also on it, superintending initially, everybody has questions to answer. I think one of the good things is that we have not swept this under the carpet and we are interested in having a full-scale enquiry that helps to uncover exactly what has transpired. Everybody has questions to answer and that is the essence of this enquiry. It is a matter to protect against the risk element that is involved the moment you discover the guarantee is invalid. Remember the contract has not even been terminated, what has happened now is the suspension of just the concession agreement and the securing of the asset that was in the custody of PDS while the process goes on” he stated.
According to him, the enquiry into the alleged fraudulent act has already commenced under a team of officers belonging to all the agencies collaborating on the matter.
“It is not a presidential or ministerial commission of enquiry, it’s my understanding that the agencies collaborating on this have nominated officers who are working together on it, indeed, the final part of the work required is for us to get the Financial Intelligence Center and some of the state security organizations to join that final exercise in securing the asset and commencing the enquiry,” Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah added.
Without giving specific timelines as to when this enquiry will be over, the Minister stated: “I suspect that by the end of this week, when the initial conversations have been concluded between all the parties; PDS, IFC, MIDA, MCC, GOG acting through the Ministries of Energy and Finance, we will have clarity on the timelines within which we can complete this enquiry”
“Depending on what the enquiry reveals, if the enquiry reveals that there was a deliberate attempt to defraud, fraud vitiates everything” he added.
Commenting on whether government “failed” to do the necessary checks before proceeding with the arrangement, Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah responded in the negative.
“We haven’t failed. It is our due diligence that has brought us this far. This is something that was not detected by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Millenium Development Authority (MIDA), the International Financial Consortium (IFC), it took the Ghana side to detect this and to bring it to the attention of even the international partners that there is a law in the guarantee which appears to be regular on the face and the flaw is within the organization, they are beginning to deny that the one who authorised it has mandate so to do. So it is the due diligence of the Ghana side that has detected this so it is not a failure to detect, rather, it is a successful detection and that is why now, they need to determine the nature of the breach” the Minister noted in the interview monitored by ABC News Ghana.
The Minister further revealed that the individual in whose hands these agreements were executed has been suspended by the company under whose purview he operated in Qatar.
“Indeed our understanding is that the company has already suspended the officer who executed that, this is the company in Qatar, where this is coming from, that is our initial understanding as they also go through parts of this enquiry that we have undertaken”
In all of these controversies, the Minister appears unfazed as he assures the country is still in the process of fixing its own power distribution sector, instead of leaving it at the mercy of private owners.
“We are fixing our own distribution sector, the option we chose was a concession agreement which today has had a little challenge. The idea is to understand the nature of the challenge and make the determination whether we can proceed with it or whether we have to change whoever that concessionaire is or whether we have to literally start that process afresh”, he stated.