Apr. 3, 2017 (GIN) – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is pledging to review all 42 power deals signed by the previous government of John Mahama after the discovery of an apparent overpayment of $150 million to a Dubai power producer.
Ghana is burdened by a heavily indebted energy sector with a debt estimate of $2.4 billion, according to the President, who is seeking cost savings through revised energy agreements.
A 17-member Energy Review Committee tasked with reviewing existing contracts reported a questionable payment schedule with the Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group, a Saudi company operating as Ameri-Energy power. In their Final Report dated February 2017, they declared the contract overpriced by $150 million.
The figure was disputed by representatives of the prior ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who accused the Committee of “mudslinging the heritage of the party.”
In addition to alleged overcharges by Ameri Power, the review committee cited serious faults by the Mahama administration. These included allowing Ameri Power to operate without a proper license, and allowing Ameri, its affiliates, sub-contractors and third parties to be exempt from all taxes. “Going forward,” the committee stated in its report, “contractors must be made to pay corporate and income tax.”
Other failures linked to the prior administration included: “no due diligence carried out on Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group LLC … Consequently the Government of Ghana has no information on the shareholders and directors of the company despite Ghana’s Deputy Attorney General being present during negotiations .”
Finally, the prior administration was faulted for paying a company in full for uncompleted work. Engineers and Planners (E&P) reportedly “demobilized” without spreading gravel on Ameri’s construction site as agreed to. Such failure would have “dire implication” on the plant’s operation, according to the report.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, the Bank of Ghana’s governor, Dr. Abdul Nashiru-Issahaku resigned this week, raising concerns about an IMF extended credit facility of $918 million. Ghana has so far received a total of about US$464.6 million from the IMF. The latest tranche was on Sept. 28, 2016, according to Citibusinessnews.com
The program, which aims to restore debt sustainability, foster a return to growth and job creation while protecting social spending, has been heavily criticized by the new government. The deal was not approved by Parliament, according to the news site. w/pix of Pres. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo