PDS Foreign Partners Demand Emergency Board Meeting Today Witch-hunt

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The foreign partners in the contract between the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Power Distribution Services (PDS) Limited, have called for an emergency meeting today with the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), to delve into the issues regarding the suspension of the concession agreement.

The two foreign companies are Meralco, which has 30percent shares under the name Meridian Power Ventures Limited and the Angolan Aenergy, otherwise captured in the concession arrangement as Aenergia SA, with 19percent shares.

The demand comes days after Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, led a high-powered government delegation to the Philippines to allegedly talk out Meralco out of the transaction, which is to get private sector actors to manage the state-owned national power service provider for 25 years.

Reports are that, there is a grand agenda by the Akufo-Addo government to secretly restructure the shareholding structure of PDS as Ghanaians wait for government to come up with it findings on the investigations it said it was conducting.

A letter in the custody of The Herald, has revealed the demand by the two companies; one of which – Meralco – has indicated its readiness to pullout of the transaction, calling for the meeting.

The jointly signed letter addressed to Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu; Chairperson of MiDA, is titled Special Board Meeting of PDS. It was dated October 14, 2019.

Part of the letter read “Please be informed that foreign shareholders of the PDS Consortium, namely Meridian Power Ventures Limited (MERIDIAN), which owns 30% shareholding, and Aenergy, which owns 19% shareholdings, have called for an urgent Special Board Meeting of PDS on October 18, 2019 to tackle the issues affecting the 1. Suspension of the PDS Concession; 2. Resolution of the issue on the Demand Guarantee; and, 3. Corperate Governance and Management Processes.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) which is also privy to the letter and other boardroom discussions, has lashed out at the Akufo-Addo government, saying there is ample proof that it is scheming to appropriate the assets of the ECG to itself.

The NDC is therefore questioning the share of MERIDIAN in PDS with its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, saying the only foreign shareholders known were, Meralco.

According to him, it was surprising for two new companies to emerge as shareholders, he told journalists yesterday in Accra. In this regard, Mr Asiedu Nketia, is asking the Akufo-Addo government to explain what led to the new development.

The question being asked is who varied the original PDS shareholding as approved by Parliament without recourse to Parliament?

The NDC wants to know who are the persons behind this new company Meridian Power Ventures and how were they selected and by whom?

The opposition party, also wants to know what their financial and technical capacities were, leading to their selection.

The NDC, also questioned why the deafening silence of government on the FTI report and their own investigative findings from Qatar?

The emergency board meeting being called by the foreign shareholders of the PDS is to address issues that ultimately culminated in the suspension of the concession agreement with the government of Ghana.

The letter was jointly signed by Ernio Acuna of Meridian Power Ventures (MERIDIAN) and Jorge Morgado of Aenergy.

It is not clear, if the emergency meeting will come on as The Herald is yet to know whether the Chairperson of MiDA, Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu, accepted to meet the PDS foreigner partners.

The concession agreement between PDS and the government to take over assets of ECG was suspended as a result of anomalies with the demand guarantees.

An investigative team was put together by the government to look into the whole deal.

The team later found no wrongdoing on the part of PDS, despite not reinstating it in the management of the power-distribution services.

“Since the negotiation for the turn-over of the ECG assets and facilities after the PDS Consortium was declared the preferred bidder in the ECG concession, there had been several issues which have arisen in connection with the governance and management of ECG Concession as well as the board of PDS which unfortunately had not been fully addressed, including the prolonged suspension of the license of PDS and the ECG Concession and the issue on the Demand Guarantee,” the letter to Prof Ntiamoa-Baidu stated.

“Any further delay in the resolution of these issues will be prejudicial to the best interest of all stakeholders, specially the electricity consumers of Ghana.”

The letter assured of acting with dispatch to resolve the issues in the meeting “which we trust would enable the immediate restructuring of the PDS Board and Management towards a more effective governance structure and management”.

He called for the support of MiDA, in order to win back “the trust and confidence of the government of Ghana and show our capability to fulfill what we have set out to do for the development of the electricity distribution services for the benefit of the good people of Ghana”.

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