Energy expert questions Finance Ministry’s authority to unfreeze PDS accounts

An energy expert has questioned the Finance Ministry’s move to unfreeze bank accounts of Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited.

Kwame Jantuah does not understand why the Ministry is taking steps to unfreeze the accounts when the reasons given by the Energy Ministry before suspending the concession with PDS still holds.

“The Energy suspended PDS based on a law – Clause 27 of the electricity sale license – one of the reasons they give is the validity of the said license becoming impaired as a result of the following events: demand guarantee submitted by PDS to Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) having been disavowed by the issuer and declared null and void.

“Let me go to (c) the decision by ECG to suspend the provisions of right and obligations defined under the Lease and Assignment Agreement (LAA) pending the determination of all consequential matters arising out of the above. So, when did Energy Commission change its mind,” he queried in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday.

Last month, the Information Ministry announced the suspension of the concession agreement between the Finance Ministry, ECG) and PDS with immediate effect.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the decision is to ensure that funds are available for payment of worker’s salaries and cater to the operational costs of the company.

This was followed by two letters from the Energy Commission, one purporting to cancel PDS’ licence and another announcing the transfer of the licence to ECG, urging PDS to cooperate with ECG on the process of transferring the licence.

Following this announcement, the Financial and Intelligence Centre last week froze the bank accounts of PDS following the detection of anomalies in the bank guarantee it provided prior to the takeover of ECG’s assets.

However, after workers of PDS raised concerns about how operational costs and workers will be covered following the freezing of the accounts, the Finance Ministry said it was taking steps to unfreeze them.

But Mr Jantuah who is also CEO of African Energy Consortium Limited raised objections about the decision.

“PDS account is based on a contract and if the contract has been suspended PDS has no right to go into that account.

“If it is that they need money to operate, they should have opened an escrow account. And ECG should have been the one to make sure that whatever monies are taken out of the PDS account into the escrow account is monitored,” he said.

In view of this, he believes the Finance Ministry has no authority to aid PDS in unfreezing the accounts.

Mr Jantuah wants the investigation ongoing into the deal to cover every institution or company that was involved in the botched deal.

“We are a sovereign country and we should be able to get down to this matter,” he stressed.

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