General News Mon, 28 Oct 2019

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US govt justifies withdrawal of $190m in botched PDS deal

The US government says its decision to withdraw the remaining $190million of the MCC funds was in compliance with the dictates of the Millennium Challenge Compact II.

The government of Ghana terminated its concession agreement with Power Distribution Services after investigations suggested that the latter did not meet some requirements prior to the signing of the agreement.

Clarifying its position in an interview on Joy News, press attaché at the US Embassy, Naomi Mattos expressed the US government’s resolve to work with the government of Ghana to fully realize the objectives of the Compact.

“Since the beginning of 2014, the $190 million was contingent on a successful concession. Since the government decided to terminate the concession [with PDS]…we decided to pull back that money. That is just how the payment was laid out because there was no ultimatum or pressure. It is what it is, they made the decision. We noted it with regret and not precipitated with the withdrawal of the US$190 million. We as a US government believe the agreement was valid. We found out that the independent forensic audit that the transfer was valid so we stuck with that.”

Termination of PDS deal was unwarranted, $190m withdrawn – US

The United States of America had described the termination of the concession agreement with Power Distribution Services as unwarranted.

Despite the government’s claims of fraud in the deal, the US in a statement from its Embassy in Ghana insisted that the agreement was valid.

“Based upon the conclusions of the independent forensic investigation, the U.S. position is that the transfer of operations, maintenance, and management of the Southern Distribution Network to the private concessionaire on March 1, 2019, was valid, and therefore the termination is unwarranted,” the statement read.

The statement also noted that, following the termination of the deal, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has confirmed that “the $190 million funds granted to Ghana at the March 1 [2019] transfer to the 20-year concession from ECG to PDS are no longer available.”

The US, however, says it will “continue to implement the Tranche I funds of $308 million with the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). ”

Nana Addo should be commended for terminating PDS deal – Dep. Energy Minister

Despite the criticisms that have characterized the termination and the likely impact on the country’s power sector, a Deputy Minister in charge of power, William Owuraku Aidoo has said President Nana Akufo-Add should be commended for taking a firm decision to terminate the concession agreement.

Mr. Aidoo said although the termination will come with its own disadvantages, the government had to take the decision in the interest of Ghanaians.

“The President and his government decided that as far as we as a nation is concerned, the demand guarantee which is the condition precedent for this compact to be legitimate was not in place and I think the President should be commended for standing its ground.”

“We have been advised and have taken the advice of our advisers to be true…As far as we are concerned, the demand guarantee was not in place so we have taken a decision to safeguard the 3 billion dollars of our assets as opposed to the 190 million dollars predicated on successful completion of the concession. It is a decision that we have taken and there is no major fight between us [government and US].”

Reasons for terminating PDS deal not convincing – Yaw Oppong

Private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong is not convinced by the reasons given for the termination of the Power Distribution Services (PDS) concession agreement.

Mr. Oppong on Citi FM/TV‘s News Analysis Programme, The Big Issue, said the grounds on which the deal was terminated is still unclear.

“I am not very sure of the grounds on which the Electricity Company has terminated the PDS contract. We should know [that] the contract was not just between the ECG and PDS. Other people, related parties like stakeholders also had a role to play.”

“In going ahead to do that, I would have thought that the generality of information from the Americans, from Ghana, the ECG and so on should have been factored into it so that we get a more convincing ground to terminate it if we had to because as we sit here I do not know the grounds on which it was terminated,” he said.

Source: citinewsroom.com

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