A member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) communication team has advanced what he believes to be reasons why some key government actors are neck-deep in the murky power concessionaire debacle.
Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, a legal practitioner, said comments by the Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, that Power Distribution Services (PDS) allegedly perpetrated a fraud on government in the transaction to take over management of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), are a ruse and misplaced.
Mr Amewu called the alleged breach by PDS a fraud. His deputy, William Owureku Aidoo, revealed that initial investigations into the botched power agreement point to a grand plan by PDS to deceive the state.
“It appears to be a grand scheme to hoodwink…we are not talking about just small boys trying to do something. This was a grand scheme that has been perpetrated and I am happy to say that we have found out,” he said on PM Express on Wednesday.
But Edudzi disagrees with the Minister and his deputy.
“Government is not a victim but it appears to be an accomplice because the original agreement stipulated about 45 conditions precedent. These conditions precedent, PDS only fulfilled about 19.
“Government or state actors in their own accord waived those condition precedents and made them conditions subsequent and that included the bank guarantee,” he surmised on Newsfile, a news analysis programme on Joy News.
The comments by the member of the NDC communications team is consistent with the view of the Minority’s claim that the Akufo-Addo administration was fudging the original Power Compact II agreement to handover the management of ECG to cronies in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Late Tuesday, July 30, the government announced the suspension of the PDS — barely 6 months after the company took over power distribution from the ECG.
In a statement signed by Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah explained 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.”
The Minister also said that government has taken steps to look into the matter properly.
However, Edudzi said on Newsfile Saturday that because PDS was supposed to demonstrate adequate financial capability, for instance, for PDS to invest some GHS500 million into the operation of ECG, but failed to so before winning the contract, the government cannot claim to be have been defrauded.
He also said at the time one of the key conditions precedents – for PDS to present a bank guarantee before taking over ECG assets – was converted into an insurance guarantee, the government knew what it was getting into and hence cannot make the allegation of fraud.
“When the government signed the contract, it knew in fact that this was PDS’s position. So to come out and create the impression ‘at the time we signed the agreement we did not know in fact that what we were presented was not the true state of affairs’, that is what I am referring to that at that point, the government became an accomplice and not a victim,” he said.