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Akufo-Addo covering up his shame – Mogtari

Special Aide to former President John Dramani Mahama, Joyce Bawah Mogtari has questioned claims President Akufo-Addo was misled into approving the controversial AMERI deal.

A publication by pro-government newspaper, ‘The Statesman’ suggested that the government had made a U-turn with the renegotiated AMERI deal after it gave its approval for Parliamentary consideration.

“It is emerging that President Akufo-Addo was misled into granting executive approval for the deal under the guise of there being an urgent need to have a bill laid in Parliament before its rising,” The Statesman reported.

Barely a day after the news run rife, Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko was relieved of his post. Although a statement from the Presidency failed to give reasons for his dismissal, reports suggest it is in relation to the renegotiated Ameri deal.

Reacting to the development, Mogtari in a statement said Akufo-Addo couldn’t have been misled.

“Embarrassed, called out, and desperately trying to cover up, the President, true to his family and friends’ nature, is using his nephew to feign ignorance and claim he was misled. But was he? How was he misled? How could he even have been misled? How would he have had the executive order signed if indeed he was misled? Is that how he operates at the presidency?” she queried.

Mogtari indicated that the government is just finding reasons to cover up its guilt having faced a tough opposition as regards the deal.

“The shockingly inept agreement was hurriedly approved by the President, by Executive Order, in what has become yet another major corruption scandal in these twenty extremely eventful months of Akufo-Addo’s administration. Thanks to the resistance of the ordinary Ghanaian, staff of the Volta River Authority, the opposition NDC and many others, the blatant attempt to hoodwink the country by the NPP government had to be abandoned. It was clear to even previous allies of the government that this was a massive case of well-coordinated corruption by the men at the top,” she noted.

“To protect himself, the Minister for Energy has been sacked. Is that the end of the latest attempt to defraud the people of Ghana by the President, his men and ministers?” the lawyer added.

The AMERI deal

The John Mahama-led administration in 2015 agreed to rent 300MW of emergency power from AMERI at the peak of the country’s power crisis.

As part of the deal, AMERI was to build the power plants and operate them for 5 years before transferring it to the government.

The cost of the deal was $510 million and received parliamentary approval on March 20, 2015.

The approval of the deal was met with stiff opposition but eventually received endorsement by the legislative body.

It later emerged that the government had been short-changed by AMERI as they presented an overpriced budget.

The reports said the government had paid in excess of $150 million but state officials of the Mahama government disagreed.

The New Patriotic Party government which assumed office said it would look into the matter.

New deal and opposition

The new deal would see Ghana and a new company Mytilineous pay off AMERI so Mytilineous will take over management of the plant for some 15 years, what many critics have described as a stab in the back of Ghanaians.

Staff of the Volta River Authority described the deal as one that is needless and will bring more hardship to the people of Ghana.

Of Ameri and matters arising

By Joyce Bawah Mogtari

In the not so recent past, under the watch of former President John
Dramani Mahama, Ghana suffered a crippling power production deficit
that was christened Dumsor- similar to the power crisis under former
President John Agyekum Kufuor.

The deficit was the result of previous years of not adding any significant
megawatts of production capacity to our generating plants, as against an
increase in the power demand by homes and businesses, spurred by
population growth and industrial expansion.

The NDC administration worked tirelessly and relentlessly to find a
sustainable solution to the crisis that was affecting not only individuals
but also businesses. Dumsor was on the lips of everybody. Any problem,
including domestic accidents, was blamed on Dumsor.

Ghana was approaching a tipping point. President Mahama was bent on
solving the problem, ensuring that the quest to find a solution was not
left to his ministers only, but to the technocrats and engineers as well.

For a country that once prided itself as an exporter of power to
neighbouring countries, how could we not have enough to feed our
distribution lines?

While the political opposition, civil society and some groups kept laying
into the Government, accusing it of failing to deal with the challenge, the
President and his team were also busy at work, day and night, to fulfil
the promise to solve it.

Truth was that, Dumsor was simply a problem of inadequate power
generation to meet demand. President Mahama despite the pressure
remained optimistic that he would not only solve the challenge, but
would more importantly institute measures and strategies to catapult
Ghana to become a net exporter of power again.

Here was a man, a leader of the people, who was running out of time,
with a crucial election coming up.

In the midst of well laid-out plans to begin the construction of new power
plants, completion of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant to supply
cheaper gas to feed the existing and new plants, signing of new PPAs

with defined timelines, start of work on a plant for the VRA at Kpone
among others, Government also began work on bringing in mobile
power ships to ameliorate the situation.

These are expensive, especially giving our subsidized power tariffs, but
critical. That is how Ghanaians got to know about Karpower and the now
famous Ameri power plants.

Gradually, the excruciating pain of Dumsor started to disappear, and by
December 2015, Ghana was out of Dumsor as promised by President
Mahama. This was even acknowledged by the current Vice President in
one of his typical attacks on Mr. Mahama in the middle of 2016.

The lantern processions by some celebrities and demonstrations by ‘civil
society’ groups, the politicization of Dumsor as though it was a problem
generated by John Mahama when he assumed office, was going to be
over.

But no, this was not the case.

With elections underway in about a year the NPP found a new punching
bag, Ameri. They alleged without credible evidence that the deal was
laden with corruption, and that Ghana had been short-changed.

While many independent institutions including Pricewaterhouse were
contracted to review the agreement and found it to be above board,
Ameri, which was one of the strategic tools of getting us out of Dumsor,
became the new whipping boy for the opposition.

A dirty campaign ensued and soon even Ghanaians forgot that they
were once under Dumsor. It was all about corruption involving Ameri,
and many spoke without credible facts.

As history would have it, the election came and went; lies and false
promises won over a developmental and national agenda well laid out to
move our country to the next stage, and currently, what do we see?

1. The KarPower agreement, a temporary power solution that the then
opposition said was unfavourable to the country gets extended for even
more years in a deal that stinks of corruption.

2. Ameri, whose agreement the then opposition used as a campaign
tool, together with Karpower, are the plants sustaining Ghana’s power
generation today.

3. After all failed attempts to further blacken the Ameri deal and the
company, Ghanaians were shocked at news that a plant that would
become the property of the country in less than three years, had been
fraudulently willed to a middle company chosen by agents of President
Akufo-Addo for a further 15 years.

4. The shockingly inept agreement was hurriedly approved by the
President, by Executive Order, in what has become yet another major
corruption scandal in these twenty extremely eventful months of Akufo-
Addo’s administration.

Thanks to the resistance of the ordinary Ghanaian, staff of the Volta
River Authority, the opposition NDC and many others, the blatant
attempt to hoodwink the country by the NPP government had to be
abandoned. It was clear to even previous allies of the government that
this was a massive case of well-coordinated corruption by the men at the
top.

Embarrassed, called out, and desperately trying to cover up, the
President, true to his family and friends’ nature, is using his nephew to
feign ignorance and claim he was misled. But was he? How was he
misled? How could he even have been misled? How would he have had
the executive order signed if indeed he was misled? Is that how he
operates at the presidency?

To protect himself, the Minister for Energy has been sacked. Is that the
end of the latest attempt to defraud the people of Ghana by the
President, his men and ministers?

The writer, Joyce Bawah Mogtari, is a lawyer and Special Aide to HE
John Dramani Mahama, a former President of Ghana. She is also a
former Deputy Minister for Transport.

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