Dossier Reveals Huge Financial Loss To State
As Ghanaians awaits Boakye Agyarko’s proverbial dust to will settle for him to disclose the circumstances, the various actors and actresses involved in the AMERI Novation drama which caused him his job as Energy Minister, The Herald’s investigations, have unearthed several documents revealing he was simply untidy and unfair to the country as evidenced in the huge debt he left behind.
Mr Agyarko’s hardened stance in dealing with the AMERI matter, sunk the country in a whopping Eighty-two million, six hundred and sixty thousand, five hundred and sixty United States Dollars (US$82,660,560.00), which the Akufo-Addo government, will have to quickly look for money to settle or risk an international embarrassment in the coming days.
The ex-Energy Minister, came across as a man who took over the Energy Ministry with a preconceived disposition unwilling to hear any other opinion different from what he held about AMERI Energy agreement negotiated and signed by the Mahama administration in 2015.
He thought he had gone behind AMERI Energy to pay METKA directly, but he ended up paying AMERI Energy through a bank account at Stanbic Bank, Ghana.
With his hardened stances, Mr Agyarko, went to work slashing payments due AMERI Energy every month – Nine Million Fourteen Thousand and Seven Hundred and Thirty United States Dollars (US$9,014,730.00) – agreed by the various parties involved in the power purchase arrangement.
For the period that Mr Agyarko was in office, he retained Three Million Fourteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty United States Dollars (US$3,014,730.00).
The dollar rate has since gone up, meaning Ghanaian taxpayers, will have to pay more; a possible case of recklessly causing financial loss to the state.
Indeed, these outstanding bills from February 2017, ballooned to nearly US$83 million, and AMERI Energy, is threatening to draw down on a Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) to recover part of its “outstanding payment and adopt the legal remedy available to” them. The LC is believed to be with an America Bank.
Interestingly, although Mr Agyarko, sought a legal opinion from Madam Gloria Akuffo; the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, on whether or not there was something illegal about the deal to justify what he perceived as overpayment, the November 27, 2017 response he got from her saying the deal had met all requirements, did not change his mind and he continued to withhold the payment of US$3,014,730.00.
In the custody of this paper are several documents signed by both Mr Agyarko and the agents of AMERI Energy.
One of the many the documents dug out by The Herald, revealed how AMERI Energy mentioned the US$82,660,560.00 debt and also lamented various attempts it had made to get Mr Agyarko settled the amount, but to no avail.
Mr Agyarko’s letter to METKA, also showed he had taken a hardened stance not to pay the owners of AMERI what had been agreed with them by the Mahama administration.
The ex-Minister’s letter dated May 19, 2017 and addressed to Vangelis Kamaris, Chief Executive Officer of Power Projects Sanayilnsaat Limited VisnezadeMah, is titled “payment undertaking in respect of the build own operate & transfer agreement between Government of Ghana(GOG) and AMERI Energy (“AMERI”) Dated February 10, 2015 (the BOOT” Agreement”).
The dismissed minister stated, “we write to you in your capacity as Project Lenders and Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Operation, Management & Maintenance (O&M&M) services provider to the installation, operation and maintenance of 10 new GE TM 2500 aero derivative gas turbines at an operating thermal power station owned by Volta River Authority situated in Takoradi for Government of Ghana (project”).
He went on to say, “we wish to inform you that the Government of Ghana (GOG) has decided to pay you directly with immediate effect, for provision of the all the services, including but not limited to the maintenance, operation, installation of equipment and machinery, the procurement and delivery of goods and materials, and any other activity performed by PPR in relation to the Project, whether specified in the PPR Agreements or otherwise (PPR Services). The monthly fixed amount of US 6 million (six million United States Dollars), which represents the PPR payment, will be deposited into the existing account which you have provided to ourselves, following the submission of a valid invoice each month”.
The document sent to the Turkish capital Istanbul, said “As the payment for February and March 2017 are due we would be making the February and March payment within 5 working days receipt of your acknowledge of the receipt of this letter. The said payment described herein shall continue until notifies you otherwise”.
It concluded that “in consideration of the above PPR shall: Continue providing the PPR Service as described in the BOOT agreement, Not take a step in the service of any letters of default served GoG, VRA or any other GoG entity and shall make not attempt drawdown of the Standby Letters of Credit with numbers SBLC/GOV/15/5 and SBLC/GOV/15/5A. (SBLC); and return the proceeds of any amounts paid under the SBLC to GOG in the unlikely event there is a draw down on the said SBLC as long as GOG continues to fulfil its payment obligations to PPR”.
The letter was copied Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Finance Minister and Attorney General.
Additional documents cited by The Herald, showed AMERI Energy, constantly reminding him and Finance Ministry about the outstanding payments.
This paper counted as many as 12 letters written to Mr Agyarko, asking him to settle the amount, but he did not until he was sacked a week ago, for trying to get Mytilineos International Trading Company owned by METKA take over the Power plants for 15 years and run it at over US$1 billion, although Ghana take ownership of the machine in two years upon the settlement of a US$310million.
One of the default notice in the custody of The Herald dated June 25, 2018, was also served on Mr Agyarko, but again he did not resolve the issue, instead he was busily negating with Mytilineos International Trading Company represented by lawyers; Philip Addison and Vicky Bright.
Nana Asante Bediatuo, Executive Secretary and nephew to President Akufo-Addo, was later to sign an executive order to have Parliament approve of the deal, despite not having a tariff report from PURC, attorney general’s legal opinion, value for money report from the finance Minister, sole-sourcing authorization from the Public Procurement Authority, and a VRA opinion, damning the Mytilineos International Trading agreement was also snubbed by the Mr Agyarko and his cohorts.
It is not clear, whether John Peter Amewu, the new Energy Minister, is studying the documents with the hope of rescuing Ghana from any embarrassment.