Mustapha Hamid Refuses Cabinet Orders To Denounce Gabby Otchere-Darko
Signals picked from the Flagstaff House, have revealed the AMERI scandal, is fast collapsing the two-year Akufo-Addo government with the President caged between party and his family.
The Herald’s information is that, sacking the Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko, from his administration is one of the options available to President Akufo-Addo, but he risks causing an implosion within the government and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for shielding his family members’ and personal involvement in the scandalous deal.
President Akufo-Addo’s position is even more pathetic with the other option been dissociating himself from his nephew; Gabby Asare-Ochere Darko, with a statement that he was “misled” by the Energy Minister as claimed by Gabby in the New Statesman Newspaper owned and edited by the family, because that will damage Gabby and the family.
Other report from reliable sources within Cabinet revealed that Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, has been instructed by Cabinet to issue a statement, saying President Akufo-Addo, was not “misled” in commanding Presidential Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo; another nephew in issuing the “Executive Order” to Parliament on the US$310 million buyout of AMERI Energy for a US$1 billion deal from Mytilineos.
But the Minister of Information, who had been a close friend of Gabby is yet to obey the instruction.
In the meantime, President Akufo-Addo, is said to be afraid that the Minister of Energy, might go to town with lots of revelations on the government, especially the numerous deals cut by the President’s younger brother, Edward Bumpty Akufo-Addo, including those at Karpower, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and others.
Additional intelligence, say some appointees of the government, as well as bigwigs of the NPP, are keenly watching the development within government, ready to talk or even resign should the Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko, be fired in the interest of the family.
He is also afraid the Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko, might use this as his finest hour to enhance his presidential ambition.
The latest on the never-ending scandal is that, AMERI is threatening to sue the Government of Ghana for defaulting in paying 82 million dollars owed it for services provided.
The company in a letter dated July 31, 2018, addressed to the Minister of Energy, and sighted by said the government, has defaulted in paying for several months.
“Through this letter, we would like to serve you this final notice of default of our outstanding payment of $82,660,560.00, duly acknowledged by you through your memo presented to the Parliament dated 25th of July 2018. In this respect, several notices have been duly served and received by your ministry, but no remedial action has been taken.”
“We would like to draw your attention that in the event that your ministry does not settle our outstanding payments immediately, we will be left with no option but to draw down on the standby letter of credit (SBLC) to recover part of our outstanding payments and adopt the legal remedy available to us,” the letter signed by CEO of Ameri Energy, Maher Al Alili warned.
The John Mahama administration in 2015 signed a contract with UAE-based AMERI Energy, to rent the 250MW of emergency power from AMERI a cost of US$510 million.
But according to the Akufo-Addo administration, it found out that AMERI had shortchanged the government as they presented an overpriced budget, and were overpaid by US$150 million. The government, therefore took a new agreement to Parliament to have a new company manage Ameri’s power plant and extend the five-year deal by 15 years.
Under the new agreement, Greece Company, Mytilineous International Trading Company, will take over the management of the AMERI power.
Ameri Energy in the letter to the Energy Minister said it was not consulted during consideration of the new agreement, therefore should not be considered part of the supposed amendment, adding that it will stick to the original US$510 million contract.
“We have recently been following the news circulating in the media about the Novation of Ameri BOOT Agreement. For purposes of the said novation, we were given an impression by the new party that all the permits, permissions and requisite approvals from the stakeholders (ie. Ministry of Finance, Attorney General’s Office, VRA, PURC) have been obtained before presenting this amended draft to the cabinet and the President for approval,” it said.
“As you are fully aware, we have never been involved with your ministry in any kind of negotiations or discussions related to this Novation and Amendment Agreement. Moreover, also never had insight of any commercial discussion between you and the new party, therefore could not have verified that the above permissions were not obtained at the time of presentation before the Parliament,” it added.
The Energy Minister, in July, laid a revised AMERI agreement before Parliament for approval after an executive order.
The Minority in Parliament kicked against the new deal which it believed was economically disadvantageous for the country, as Ghana would be paying more under the agreement.
The Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) and some analysts have said the amended deal with the new company, Mytilineous, will cost the country in excess of $1 billion if it comes into force.
The original contract with AMERI was to end in about 36 months after which Ghana will own the power barges, but the new deal pushed the ownership period to 15 years, with the yearly payments at a cost marginally lower than the original deal.
Also, under the new agreement, critics say, the current tariff of 10.4 cents charged on power produced will increase to 11.7 cents for the same amount of power produced within the 15-year period, possibly translating into a higher cost of electricity for the consumer.
But AMERI in the letter said, “In view of the ongoing circumstance, management of Ameri Energy, has taken notice of this and would like to inform you that we shall not be deemed associated with the novation and amendment agreement and will only remain committed to our original BOOT Agreement signed on 20th of February 2015. Upon completion of our five (5) years term, your ministry can freely decide to handover that project to any third party at a commercial arrangement you may deem right.”
It, however, served notice to the government that it was expecting its outstanding $82.6 million payment and further threatened that it would take legal actions against the government if it fails to pay the debt.
“Through this letter, we would like to serve you this a final notice of default of our outstanding payment of Eighty-two million, six hundred and sixty thousand, five hundred and sixty United States Dollars (USD 82,660,560.00) duly acknowledged by you through your memo presented to the Parliament dated 25th of July, 2018. In this respect, several notices have been duly served and received by your ministry, but no remedial action has been taken, we would like to draw your attention that in the option but to draw on the Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) to recover party of our outstanding payments and adopt the legal remedy available to us.”
Meanwhile, information available to this paper suggests that, the letter from Ameri Energy read last Saturday on news analysis programme Newsfile on Joy FM by Paul Adom Okyere, was issued by Gabby Asare Ochere-Darko.