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Otchere-Darko disagrees with three ministers over PDS fraud

Tue, 29 Oct 2019 Source: The Herald

New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwart, Gabby Otchere-Darko, has literally rubbished three government ministers, including Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, over their stance that there was fraud in the botched Power Distribution (PDS) and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) transaction.

Aside the Finance Minister, the Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu and the Deputy Energy Minister in-charge of Power, William Owuraku Aidoo, have in separate communications, said the PDS deal was tainted by fraud, but Mr Otchere-Darko insists that PDS did not commit any fraud in the power agreement with government.

In an interview on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen, Mr Otchere Darko, stressed that he believes what has been described as fraud detected in the agreement was not from PDS.

The Finance Minister, had in his letter to the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) dated October 18, 2019, mentioned the alleged fraud and announced that the matter had been reported to the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for investigation and prosecution.

Prior to Mr Ofori-Atta’s announcement, the Energy Minister had said investigations conducted by the government, established that a document that was presented by PDS as a guarantee for the takeover of ECG was forged.

The minister explained that, even though the document indicated that a company in Qatar which turned out to be Al Koot Insurance, had guaranteed for PDS, but the management of the company, told the government it had no knowledge of the document.

In an interview with Citi Business News, Mr Amewu, stated that the Akufo-Addo government would prosecute anyone found to have engaged in the fraudulent act.

The Energy Minister’s explanation was after the government in the late hours of Tuesday, July 30, announced in a statement, the suspension of the contract with PDS, barely six months after the company took over from the ECG.

The statement signed by Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, disclosed that “the decision follows the detection of fundamental and material breaches of PDS obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees) for the transaction which have been discovered upon further diligence.”

“The Demand Guarantees were key prerequisites for the lease of assets on 1st March 2019 to secure the assets that were transferred to the concessionaire.”

It further indicated that steps were underway to unveil the details that went into it as government is conducting a full enquiry into the matter.

Deputy Energy Minister in-charge of Power, William Owuraku Aidoo, had also in another interview said the deal was saddled with fraud.

However, Mr OtchereDarko, who is a lawyer, was emphatic, he cannot fault anyone for the PDS debacle and called for Ghanaians to be fair to all individuals and parties that were involved in the deal.

“We should celebrate Ghanaians who are doing well and have sympathy for the Ghanaian shareholders in PDS. They worked very hard but to no avail,” said the man, whose friendship with Philip Ayesu and Sophia Korkor board chairman and secretary to PDS, got him linked to the deal.

Government terminated its concession agreement with PDS on the instruction of President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday.

The company was engaged in March but since its suspension on July 30, PDS had been embroiled in a corporate governance tussle among the shareholders.

A Ghanaian local consortium holds the 51percent of the shares while the remaining 49percent shares are for two foreign companies, Manila Electric Company Limited (Meralco), a Filipino company with 30percent shares and Aenergia, an Angolan company with 19percent.

Foreign player, Meralco offloaded its shares to Meridian Power Ventures Ltd, a letter to a key transaction advisor, the US-backed Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) confirmed.

“I was not for this whole ECG concession and have no interest in PDS but I believe PDS did not commit any fraud but if there is anything fraud then it is from Jo Australia and Al Koot,” he said.

To Gabby Otchere-Dako, no new company was added to bid for the concession after NPP took over and so he expects those claiming the whole PDS is a family and friends deal to stop criticising government.

“All six companies were shortlisted before AkufoAddo assumed power so what is family and friends. AkufoAddo did not like the 80-20 arrangement in the ECG concession when he became president so fresh discussions were started,” he added.

Source: The Herald
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