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General News Thu, 1 Aug 2019

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We’ll complete PDS concession anomalies probe within 30 days – Government

The government has said it will take 30 days to complete its full-scale inquiry into the breaches it detected with the contract of Power Distribution Services (PDS).

Addressing journalists at a press briefing on Thursday, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the government has put together a team made up of insurance investigation experts, officials of the Energy and Finance ministries and officials of the ECG and MIDA to look into the matter.

The Minister said the aim of the inquiry is to determine the nature of the breaches and advise on the suggested next steps.

“The full scale inquiry into the detected breaches has commenced and is expected to be completed within 30 days.”

“By Tuesday, the team is expected in Doha-Qatar as part of the inquiry. All interested parties are cooperating with the inquiry at this stage,” he said.

The government of Ghana on Tuesday decided to suspend a concessionary agreement with PDS for distribution of power in Ghana, with immediate effect following what it said was the discovery “of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees).” Details of the alleged breach revealed that the PDS’ guarantee was irregular.

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah revealed that another team by the government has been tasked to continue engagement with the American government through its agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation on the development.

“This engagement is about the possible next steps after the inquiry and channels for sharing information as part of this inquiry. That team is expected to also be in the USA possibly next week as part of their engagement,” he added.

The Information Minister said final efforts to ensure a smooth transition between ECG and PDS officials are proceeding without incident.

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah reiterated that the breach was detected by Ghanaian authorities as a result of “due diligence” of the Ghanaian authorities.

Mr. Nkrumah further gave assurances that the government will update all stakeholders on the outcome of the inquiry and proceed in accordance with law and the terms of the agreement as it works towards a final resolution of the matter.

ECG takes over from PDS

Meanwhile, the Energy Commission has announced the appointment of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as the interim operator to take charge of the management and operation of electricity sales in the country.

The Commission in a statement said the decision is based on the impairment of validity of PDS’s licences due to its Demand Guarantees being declared null and void among other new developments concerning PDS’ take over of electricity sales in Ghana.

Below is the full statement read by the Information Minister on Thursday:

MINISTER’S PRESS BRIEFING- 1ST AUGUST 2019

UPDATE ON PDS SUSPENSION

Reference to the Press Statement Issued by the Ministry of Information dated 30th July 2019, on the matter of the suspension of the concession agreement between Government of Ghana and PDS, Government hereby updates the Ghanaian Public as follows;

1.The full scale inquiry into the detected breaches has commenced and is expected to be completed within 30 days. The team conducting the inquiry comprises insurance investigation experts, officials of the Energy and Finance ministries and officials of the ECG and MIDA as well. The inquiry will determine the nature of the breaches and advise on suggested next steps. By Tuesday, the team is expected in DOHA-Qatar as part of the inquiry. All interested parties are cooperating with the inquiry at this stage.

2.A second team has been tasked to continue engagement with the American government through its agency the Millennium Challenge Corporation. This engagement is about the possible next steps after the inquiry and channels for sharing information as part of this inquiry. That team is expected to also be in the USA possibly next week as part of their engagement.

3.Final efforts to ensure a smooth transition between ECG and PDS officials are proceeding without incident.

4.We reiterate that this breach was discovered by the due diligence of the Ghanaian authorities through ECG and with the support of state agencies.

A.For the avoidance of doubt, the provision of the payment guarantee has always been a condition precedent and was never changed to a condition subsequent as being speculated by some persons.

B. Initial Due Diligence led by the transaction advisors did not detect anything wrong with it.

C.The second level checks (this time led by the Ghana side) initially yielded a response from Al-Koot confirming the guarantee.

D.It was a third level check by the Ghana side that detected anomalies within Al-koot thereby triggering a fourth level check.

E.The fourth level check involved sending an initial team from the Ghana Mission in Qatar to engage with Al-koot officials for further verification. This fourth level further proved the anomalies and suggested untoward action which is now the subject of the full scale inquiry.

5.Government will update all stakeholders on the outcome of the inquiry and proceed in accordance with law and the terms of the agreement as it works towards a final resolution of this matter.

Source: citinewsroom.com

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