…And Excuse Presidential Secretary Nana Asante Bediatuo
President Akufo-Addo and his family, have thrown Energy Minister, Boakye K Agyarko, under the bus, sacrificing him over the scandalous US$1 billion Mytilineos bid to buy out the Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group (AMERI) Energy at a cost of US$310.768 million and make a gargantuan US$1,070 billion from it in 15-years.
From the President to other members of his family, they have insisted that the family did no wrong in wanting to give away a national asset which the country is halfway through to owning. The family insists, the Ministry of Energy in the hands of Mr Agyarko, was on a “solo-driven” mission.
The position taken by President Akufo-Addo and the claims of his trusted nephew, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, in his newspaper; the Daily Statesman, have led to accusing fingers being pointed at Mr Agyarko, who submitted the agreement from the METKA Energy’s Mytilineos Company to Parliaments and got the Finance and Energy committee members, debating it while the nation was mourning late Vice-President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.
Addressing a conference of Internal Auditors in Accra on Wednesday, the President cleverly avoided mentioning AMERI, but said “I am aware that you give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, but this dog will not be hanged.”
“I want to say that the stringent and desperate efforts being made by my political opponents to tarnish me and my family with corruption will simply not wash” adding “I didn’t come into public life to make money out of public service and members of my family know fully well that they have to behave and are not involved in anything untoward.”
According to a member of the family, Mr Otchere-Darko, later claimed that “President Akufo-Addo was misled into granting executive approval for the deal under the guise of there being an urgent need to have a bill laid in Parliament before its rising”.
With the backing of the President’s secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo, tried dribbling everyone by using an Executive Order, instead of a Cabinet approval to seek Parliamentary approval in buying out the AMERI Energy power plant at a cost of US$310.768 million and go into a deal with its subcontractor at a colossal sum of US$1,070 billion.
Executive Orders are normally issued under emergency situations, renegotiating the AMERI Energy deal, was not an emergency situation.
It was also discovered that, essential laws, including Public Financial Management Act (PFMA 921) of 2016, and other requite procedures, were shoved aside in this juicy enterprise by these individuals.
The Energy Minister on his part, had failed to provide the required approvals; Attorney General’s Legal Opinion, Minister of Finance’s approval per section 33(1) of PFMA 921 on international debt, the Minister of Finance’s Value for money analysis, approval of tariffs report from Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and a single sourcing procurement approval from Public Procurement Authority (PPA) as required by such transactions.
An objection from the Volta River Authority (VRA) on the Mytilineos deal was not included in the documents submitted to the Finance and Energy committees.
Names such as Edward Bumpty Akufo-Addo, younger brother of President Akufo-Addo, the President’s Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Lawyer Philip Addison, ex-Deputy Minister of State in the Kufuor administration, Vicky Bright, Energy Minister, as well as his younger brother, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko.
Whilst Lawyer Philip Addison and Vicky Bright, are directly mentioned to be working for Mytilineous Company which has been confirmed to METKA Energy, as well as Power Projects Sanayi İnşaat Ticaret Limited Şirketi, Edward Bumpty Akufo-Addo and President’s Secretary, are indirectly working for the same METKA people.
Indeed, Philip Addison and Vicky Bright, who had served on the Ministerial Committees that investigated AMERI, were seen at Parliament’s joint committee Energy and Finance sitting last week Friday, pushing the interest of METKA Energy’s Mytilineos Company deal, which would have led Ghana to lose over US$800 million.
This paper further discovered that METKA Energy since its introduction into sub-Saharan Africa by AMERI Energy, has been scheming to be independent and have a foothold in the region using Ghana as its base.
The decision to buy out AMERI for 15 years at a yearly rate of US$71.3 million, using the President’s relations is, therefore, part of that grand agenda.
Boakye Agyarko, has a presidential ambition, and has his younger brother and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, working in furtherance of that presidential ambition, especially resources to fuel and sustain that dream.
The two have found partnership in Bumpty Akufo-Addo, who travels everywhere with the President, although he has no official capacity in the government.
Analysts have said that, but for the significant interest and the heavy involvement of the President’s family members, especially his younger brother and nephew Nana Asante Bediatuo, Mr Agyarko, would have been sacked immediately.
The involvement of the two, gives and their yet to be disclosed interests, explain why Cabinet was not involved in the decision to seek parliamentary approval for the deal.
It was held that, a Cabinet decision would have scuttle the various interests of the inviduals named hence, their choice of an executive order.
The President’s secretary on a letterhead “Office of the President” simply stated “the President of the Republic of Ghana has granted executive approval for the Novation and Amendment Agreement dated July 20, 2018 between (i) the Government of the Republic of Ghana represented by the Minister for Energy ( or his authorised representative), (ii) Volta River Authority(VRA), (iii) Africa and Middle East Resource Investment Group(AMERI ENERGY), (iv) Ameri Energy Power Equipment Trading LLC ( AMERI EQUIPMENT), (v) Power Projects Sanayi Insaat Ticanet Limited Sirketi (PPR), and (vi) Mytilineos International Trading Company AG (Mytilineos), for operations and maintenance of the existing 250MW AMERI Thermal Plant at Aboadzi, for a period of 15 years.”
The order addressed to the Energy Minister, was copied to the Vice-President; Dr. Mahamoudu Bawumia, the Chief of Staff; Akosua Frema Osei-Opare and Secretary to Cabinet; Mercy Yvonne Debrah-Karikari.
Many continue to question, why Minister of Energy and for that matter Flagstaff House, could not wait for the Cabinet approval, but opted for Executive Order in rushing the deal through Parliament “especially when it is not an emergency situation”.
Again, why the Minister of Energy did not provide evidence that AMERI had been contacted and offered a renegotiated transaction, as it would have been easier to deal with them for any novation agreement, has also been queried.
Also raised is, whether President Akufo-Addo, who is a lawyer, had seen the documents before issuing the Executive Approval or the deal as hatched at his blindside, and assured by his Minister of Energy that all these documents were in place? Others have also suggested he was part of this web of deceit.
Whether or not Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo and Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta ,will give their opinions on this transaction before it is re-laid in Parliament or the Energy Minister, will re-lay a completely different novation agreement, is yet to be seen.
Lastly, novations can only be made to the existing agreements. But there is not document trail, showing the AMERI agreement to this novation and why AMERI wasn’t counterparty, rather than Metka or Mytilineous Company or Power Projects Sanayi İnşaat Ticaret Limited Şirketi, especially as the economics of this deal has improved from a 17.5percent Rate of return project to one that exceeds 70percent.
The Herald further discovered an interesting press release issued by Mytilineos on 17 September 2015. It established the connection with METKA and AMERI Power Plant and affirmed its commitment to the project as priced at US$350 million.
The Statesman newspaper claimed that “…President Akufo-Addo was misled into granting executive approval for the deal under the guise of there being an urgent need to have a bill laid in Parliament before its rising.
On his return to Accra on Tuesday from the 53rd session of the ECOWAS Heads of State meeting in Togo, the President quickly requested and received a further briefing on the new deal. This revealed that the agreement to which he had given approval on July 31 lacked the requisite input from the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance. The President had been misled to believe that both departments had assessed the deal thoroughly.
We are also hearing that the Economic Management Team met on Tuesday to discuss the revised deal for the first time and the outcome was that it is not in Ghana’s interest. We are further informed that the new AMERI arrangement will be one of the critical items for discussion at cabinet later today. There are clear indications that cabinet will “kill” the deal.
In the run-up to the 2016 elections, the NPP campaigned on a promise to revise the $510 million AMERI deal, championed by President John Mahama in 2015, because the cost was unreasonably high and the arrangement riddled with corruption. As such, it was thought that, barring outright cancellation, any revision of the existing agreement would necessarily lead to a reduction in the contract sum and the cost of power within the five-year tenure.
On Thursday July 26, the government had sought to lay a revised agreement from the Energy Ministry before Parliament, but members from both sides of the House opposed it and registered cause for the proposal to be withdrawn for further consideration.
The history of AMERI in Ghana, and particularly its association with Ghana’s energy needs, has been embroiled in controversy. The company was earning $150m as commission on the original deal just for playing the role of middleman, a provision generally considered as outrageous”, the Statesman said.