A prominent barbershop owner and a known friend of the Akufo-Addo family, has been found in the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Concession agreement between Ghana and the consortium of investors led by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).
Philip Ayesu, owner of X Men Barbershop at East Legon in Accra, has no known expertise in electric power management and distribution; however, he is involved in the Consortium on the claim that, he brought the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) into Ghana to take part in the bid to manage the state-owned ECG.
Philip Ayesu, described as a staunch member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), has been a close friend and neighbor to President Akufo-Addo’s nephew, Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko.
Indeed, for years now, his barbershop, has been cutting the hairs of Gabby and another member of the Akufo-Addo family, who also serves the president as his Executive Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo.
Philip Ayesu, is presently a Board Member of the National Communication Authority (NCA).
Interestingly, one David Nana Yaw Asare, a worker of waste management company Zoomlion, has also boasted to The Herald, as the one who specifically traveled to Manila, the capital of the Philippines to Meralco, and claims that he brought Philip Ayesu onboard to make use of his political clout within the NPP and the Akufo-Addo government.
David Nana Yaw Asare, sometimes known as David Ofori-Asare told The Herald in an interview that, he brought Philip Ayesu through a company called, TG Energy Solutions Ghana, which has 28percent shares in the Consortium of investors, making it the second largest shareholder in the transaction ,which will see EGC being managed for 20 years. Meralco, has 30percent shares in the transaction.
David Nana Yaw Asare, who is suspected to be a front for Zoomlion owner; Joseph Siaw Agyapong in the ECG deal, disclosed to The Herald his TG Energy Solutions Ghana, has no money to pump into the management of the state power company, but hopes to use its assets to raise the needed funds to pay his part of the deal.
To him, ECG rakes millions of cedis every day, and financial institutions, will be more than willing to give out money to anyone involved in the consortium.
In a telephone called, Philip Ayesu, also claimed he owns TG Energy Solutions Ghana. He, however, did not mention David Ofori-Asare, as his partner.
The NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi, Andrew Agyapa Mercer, who sometimes act as lawyer for Zoomlion, had insisted in an interview with The Herald that, David Asare, had got him to incorporate TG Energy Solutions Ghana at Registrar General’s Department.
The NPP MP, did not mention Philip Ayesu as a part owner of the TG Energy Solutions Ghana, although The Herald, had tried to find out whether anyone else was involved in the company.
The paper was to find out that one Sophia Kokor, a worker at the Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko’s Danquah Institute is a director of TG Energy Solutions Ghana.
It is not clear, whose interest Sophia Kokor is representing in the deal. It is also unclear, what expertise she is bringing onboard in the management of EGC.
Andrew Agyapa Mercer and Joseph Adjei-Banin, are also directors of the same company involved in the concession agreement.
The Herald, painstaking investigations into the ECG Concession agreement established that, Ghanaians had been given a raw deal, with the key state asset going away under some fishy and untidy circumstances.
Indeed, Andrew Agyapa Mercer, ignored conflict of interest when he sat in Parliament, as a secretary and a director of TG Energy Solutions Ghana and approved the deal in which he had a financial interest.
Interestingly, the Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) led by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Martin Esson Benjamin, had on the basis of conflict of interest, rejected another investor, BXC Ghana, accusing it of failing to disclose its working relationship with ECG ahead of the bid. The case eventually landed in court, but the court ruled in favour of MIDA.
It was clear from The Herald’s investigations that, free money will be landing in the pockets of some individuals anytime electricity tariff is increased by the consortium with the approval of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC).
Indeed, some of the companies, particularly TG Energy Solutions Ghana, looked hurriedly formed purposely to harvest these free monies through the concession arrangement.
The Herald discovered the company had no technical expertise in the energy sector and also lacked financial muscle to manage ECG with its 6,000 workforce.
MIDA, also came across as having failed to do due diligence on the TG Energy Solutions Ghana and its ties to the MP or perhaps per the claims of David Asare, that Philip Ayesu’s political connections within the Akufo-Addo government to get onboard the consortium as it was also clear MIDA did not do any technical and financial audit of all the companies, especially TG Energy Solutions Ghana, before handing over the strategic national asset to them.
Lawyer Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, in an interview with The Herald, admitted being a director of TG Energy Solutions Ghana, but said he cannot be accused of conflict of interest, because he had explained his role in the company to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, who had in Parliament questioned him on his involvement with the company.
The Sekondi MP, claimed he was only engaged as a lawyer to register the TG Energy Solutions Ghana, but he decided on his own to act as director and secretary to the company, until the owner, David Asare, settled down for business and appoints substantive officers. When this was done, he (Mercer) will resign from his two positions in TG Energy Solutions Ghana.
But at the time of speaking to this paper on September 6, 2018, two months after Parliament approved the deal, Lawyer Mercer, had not resigned from TG Energy Solutions Ghana as Secretary and Director of the company.
He described the situation as “not the best thing to do. But some of these things you just go ahead and then…” The NPP MP, also discounted the significance of his vote in parliament on the deal and several times dismissed accusations of conflict of interest.
But Lawyer Mercer’s role in TG Energy Solutions Ghana, goes beyond playing the roles of a director and a secretary. His office address on the 7th Floor of Heritage Tower in Accra, has been identified as the “Principal Place of business” for the company.
He also denied participating in the voting process which approved the deal saying, “I was not even in the chamber when the process was pushed through”. I didn’t participate… In any event, it was a voice vote. It was not a recorded vote”. To him, if there were divisions, and Parliament had gone into various sides, then he could be accused of conflict of interest, but this did not happen, and the vote was by voice.
Lawyer Mercer, also claimed he was not aware that TG Energy Solutions Ghana was participating in the EGC concession process until the agreement came before Parliament, and Haruna Iddrisu, saw his name and drew his attention.
It is not clear, who saw the Sekondi MP on July 24, 2018, walking out of Parliament ahead of the voting exercise and can vouch for this.
Interestingly, The Herald, has obtained Minutes of Forty-Second Sitting of the second meeting of Parliament; the day on which the ECG concession agreement was approved, and Lawyer Mercer, was captured as having taken part in the “Votes and Proceedings” on the day. He was number 161 per the records from Parliament.
The five companies involved in the consortium are; Manila Electric (Meralco) of The Philippines, 30 per cent; Aenergia SA (Angola), 19 per cent; Santa Baron Ventures Ghana, 13 per cent; TG Energy Solution Ghana,; GTS Engineering Ghana Limited, 10 per cent, and TBK Ghana Limited, 10 per cent.
Sophia Kokor Philip Ayesu
David Ofori Asare
More to come!