The big story in town today is the Akufo Addo government’s decision to suspend its contract it entered barely five months ago with Power Distribution Services (PDS). In effect, Electricity Company of Ghana is to assume the job it was doing before it handed over to PDS. This dramatic turn of event was long predicted by connoisseurs of the power sector so it is not surprising.
For the records, the Mahama government, acting through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, signed a Compact Power Agreement with the United States in August 2014. This agreement, among other things, was to open the door for the government of Ghana to access monies in the Millennium Challenge Account to address challenges at the power sector.
Under the Millennium Challenge Account Compact II Agreement, Ghana was expected to receive an amount of 500 million dollars if a new manager took over ECG. In other words, as part of the agreement, ECG was to be privatized.
In May 2016, the Mahama government went through all the processes and succeeded in attracting 6 companies with requisite technical, financial and operational knowhow to manage the GHC22 billion assets of ECG. Out of the 6 companies, one was to be selected after the bidding process to take over from ECG. This process was not concluded before the NDC lost power in 2016. The Akufo-led NPP government inherited this agreement.
Typical of the NPP government, it badmouthed the Mahama government for negotiating a bad deal. Under the guise of ‘local content’, the Akufo Addo government altered the agreement to be given to a consortium. The present government bragged that it had succeeded in negotiating for at least 50% shares in ECG to be owned by Ghanaians under the new agreement. This was where the embarrassing situation we found ourselves started.
Due to unfair treatment and needless politically laden harassments, the Akufo Addo government ended up chasing other bidders, leaving only Philippines based Manila Electric, Meralco to enjoy the government cooked sweetheart deal. Meralco, after persistent pressure, then named its local and expatriate partners as 4 Ghanaian owned companies and 1 expatriate company, namely, TG Energy Solutions Ghana (18%), Santa Baron Ventures Ghana (13%), GTS Engineering Ghana Ltd (13%) , TBK Ghana Ltd (10%) and Aenergia SA (19%). Meralco, together with these companies, formed a consortium called PDS.
It was agreed that PDS would inject 580 million dollars into the energy sector in its first five years of operation in Ghana. Question, how much has PDS injected before it has been kicked out? To digress a bit, it is important to interrogate the names behind some of the Ghanaian companies that formed the consortium. TG Energy Solutions, the Ghanaian company with the highest share, has as its directors, the NPP MP for Sekondi, Andrew Agyapa Mercer, Lawyer Sophia Kokor of Danquah Institute, and Philip Ayesu Owusu, owner of X-men Barber Shop.
As at the time TG Energy Solutions joined the consortium, it had no office or physical location. The address on it registration document was alleged to have landed in Andrew Agyapa Mercer’s law firm. Indeed, the records show that TG Energy Solutions failed the Request for Quality (RFQ) assessment but was curiously considered by MiDA to join the consortium. There were persons who argued that TG Energy Solutions lacked the financial, technical and operational know-how to manage the energy sector. These concerns were however shrugged off by MiDA.
In what could be described as the most glaring conflict of interest situation in the history of the country, Andrew Agyapa Mercer, as director and secretary of TG Energy Solutions, sat in Parliament and participated in the debate that led to the approval of the ECG takeover deal by his company. So from the day one, it was clear that, like the EO Group, the Akufo Addo government was in the process of handing over the energy sector to its friends and cronies even though they lacked the request capacity.
Then came in Santa Baron Ventures owned by Kwabena Boateng-Aidoo; with 13% shares in the consortium.
This was the company that was alleged to have supplied expired Aluminum Sulphate or Alum to the Ghana Water Company Limited in 2013, and the same company that imported the controversial 43 amor plated presidential fleet. This was the same company that supplied boots to the military, the subject of which became one of the widely criticized deals in Ghana.
Government knew from the onset that it had entered into a bad deal. Now that ECG has, for want of a better word, re-takeover, it would spend millions of the tax payers money to change both assets and other things branded with PDS logo. Almost all ECG offices, vehicles, letter beards etc were rebranded with PDS logo and colors. With this, ECG would have to spend money to revert all these things to its colors and logo.
Somebody must definitely answer for this. If due diligence was not done, the person or persons who slept on their jobs must answer some questions.
END OF PART ONE
Source: Amos Blessing Amorse