Haruna Iddrisu playing smart on PDS scandal

The Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, is coming across as playing smart over the scandal that led to the suspension of the concession agreement between the government of Ghana and the Power Distribution Services (PDS) Limited.

On the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, he called for a full-scale Parliamentary probe into the suspension of the concession agreement between the government and the PDS Limited, this is in spite the fact that his name ,had emerged many times during The Herald’s investigations into the scandal which started in February, last year.

Firstly, Lawyer Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, whose involvement in PDS as director, lawyer and secretary to director of TG Energy Solutions Ghana; one of the companies involved in the deal, which The Herald, had established during the paper’s investigations, first mentioned the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu.

According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi in the Western Region, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had accosted him in Parliament and questioned him on a possible conflict of interest situation, because of his involvement in TG Energy Solution Ghana.

The second person involved in the deal to have mentioned the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu’s name, was, David Nana Yaw Asare, who had identified himself to The Herald, as the owner of TG Energy Solutions Ghana, as being in contact with the Minority Leader and adequately briefed him on the deal.

David Asare, whose ownership of the TG Solution, Philip Ayensu of X-men barbershop at East Legon – Accra, had also in another interview sought to dispute the story, told The Herald there had been many engagements with the Minority Leader, long before the Tuesday July 24, 2018 Parliamentary approval of the concession.

Interestingly, Lawyer Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer sat in Parliament as an MP to approve a deal in which he stood to gain financially as director, secretary and lawyer and secretary of TG Energy Solutions Ghana, but his role was never mentioned by the Minority Leader.

The third person to have mentioned the Minority Leader’s knowledge of the activities with the PDS was Joseph Kwabena Aidoo, who owns Santa Power Limited with 13percent stake in PDS. He also mentioned engagements with the Minority leader on the deal.

It is not clear what the Minority Leader did with all the information provided him by the parties involved in the transaction, especially on their financial obligations and expertise in managing the ECG assets which are at the heart of the suspension, but speaking on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Iddrisu, said the probe was in order to unearth the full facts surrounding the suspension.

Interestingly, David Nana Yaw Asare, during the interview with The Herald, admitted TG Energy Solutions Ghana, had no financial muscle to invest in ECG, but hoped to use the assets of the state power provider to raise the needed funds to pay his part of the deal.

He told The Herald shorty after Parliamentary approval that ECG makes millions of cedis every day, and financial institutions, will be more than willing to give out money to anyone involved in the concession.

Haruna Iddrisu’s demand, follows the Information Ministry’s announcement that the Akufo-Addo government, has suspended the agreement following the detection of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees) for the transaction, which has been discovered upon further due 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. The government is conducting a full enquiry into the matter, and the outcome will inform the next course of action,” the statement said.

The Energy Minister, Peter Amewu, later told Citi Business News, initial investigations conducted by the government, has 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 had guaranteed for PDS, the management of the company told the government of Ghana it had no knowledge of the document.

Mr Amewu stated that the government would prosecute anyone found to have engaged in the fraudulent act.

TG Energy Solutions Ghana, a strictly Ghanaian-owned company, had 28 percent shares in the Consortium of investors making it the second largest shareholder in the transaction which will see EGC being managed for 20 years. Meralco, has 30 percent shares in the transaction while Aenergia of Angola had 19percent.

The Herald’s painstaking investigations into the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Concession agreement between Ghana and the consortium of investors, led by Manila Electric Company (Meralco), has established that Ghanaians, have been given a raw deal, with the key state asset going away under some fishy and untidy circumstances.

Interestingly, the Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) led by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Martin Esson Benjamin, had on the basis of conflict of interest, rejected another investor, BXC Ghana, saying it had failed to disclose its working relationship with ECG ahead of the bid. The case eventually landed in court, but the court ruled in favour of MIDA.

It is clear from this paper’s investigations that, free money will be landing in the pockets of some individuals anytime electricity tariff is increased by the consortium with the approval of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC).

Indeed, some of the companies, particularly TG Energy Solutions Ghana, looked hurriedly formed purposely to harvest these free monies through the concession arrangement.

The Herald, discovered the company had no technical expertise in the energy sector and also lacked financial muscle to manage ECG with its 6,000 workforce.

It was clear from this paper’s investigation that MIDA led by Martin Esson Benjamin, did no technical and financial assessment of all the companies, before handing them Ghana’s strategic national asset to them.

Lawyer Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, in an interview with The Herald admitted being a director of TG Energy Solutions Ghana, but said he cannot be accused of conflict of interest, because he had explained his role in the company to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, who had questioned him on his involvement in the company in Parliament.

He claimed he was only engaged as lawyer to register the TG Energy Solutions Ghana, but he decided on his own volition to act as Director and secretary to the company until the owner, David Asare, settled down for business and appoints substantive officers after he (Mercer) had resigned from his two positions in TG Energy Solutions Ghana.

He described the situation as “not the best thing to do. But some of these things you just go ahead and then…” The NPP MP also discounted the significance of his vote in parliament on the deal and several times dismissed accusations of conflict of interest.

Strangely, however, Lawyer Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer’s role in TG Energy Solutions Ghana, goes beyond playing the roles of a director and a secretary. His office address on the 7th Floor of Heritage Tower in Accra, has been identified as the “Principal Place of business” for the company.

He also denied participating in the voting process which approved the deal saying “I was not even in the chamber when the process was pushed through”. I didn’t participate… In any event, it was a voice vote. It was not a recorded vote”. To him, if there were divisions, and Parliament had gone into various sides, then he could be accused of conflict of interests but his did not happened and the vote was been voice.

Lawyer Mercer, also claimed he not was aware that TG Energy Solutions Ghana was participating in the EGC concession process until the agreement came before Parliament and the Minority Leader, saw his name and drew his attention.

It is not clear, who saw the Second MP on July 24, 2018, walking out from Parliament ahead of the voting exercise and can vouch for this.But in yet another twist to the story, the same Lawyer Mercer, who did not participate in the deal, says he is yet to resign from TG Energy Solutions Ghana as Secretary and Director of the company.

But, although he insisted that he was not in parliament, The Herald obtained Minutes of Forty-Second Sitting of the second meeting of Parliament; the day on which the ECG concession agreement was approved, and Lawyer Mercer was captured as having taken part in the “Votes and Proceedings” on the day. He was number 161 in the records from Parliament.

This means Lawyer Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer lied, when he said he did not participate in parliamentary proceedings, because he was not in the House or on the Floor of Parliament.

The Herald, uncovered a possible scam to be perpetuated on unsuspecting Ghanaians through the controversial second ECG Concession, by prominent individuals in society and the political environment.

Some of these individuals are shockingly MPs, others government officials and the rest are private businessmen, who are about to toil with the destinies of the over 6, 000 workers of ECG, who by late February next year, will be offloaded to the new company.

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