The Herald has followed the attempt by the Ministry of Energy led by Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh alias “Napo” and some leaders in the energy sector to own the Africa and Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI) power plant through a proxy company.
Even more interesting is that the chosen proxy company, Mytilineos, is the same company that got Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko sacked when he proposed the novation of the AMERI contract to the Mytilineos.
Ghana has paid AMERI the original contract value of $510 million signed under the President Mahama government in 2015, to address the power sector challenges.
However, the contract was heavily criticised by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), then led by a current Deputy Energy Minister, Mohammed Amin Adam, Imani and other CSOs, as overpriced. The NPP also joined the chorus and demanded a contract renegotiation to reduce the cost burden on Ghanaians.
But the Greek company Mytilineos is said to be working with the ministry to move AMERI to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region. Independent checks done by The Herald reveal that the cost of the transfer is running into several millions of dollars.
Deputy Energy Minister, William Owuraku Aidoo, has stated that the 250megawatts AMERI plant will be transferred to Kumasi after the EPC contract is finalized, but did not mention the cost of transporting the plants.
“The 250 megawatts AMERI power plant will be moved to Awomaso in Kumasi 6 months after the EPC contract is signed. The Ministry has engaged a company by the name Mytilineos SA to undertake the engineering of the EPC contract. The works are expected to be pre-financed by this company and we have sought the legal opinion of the AG’S office.”
The Deputy Minister made the disclosure while speaking on the floor of Parliament and said the Public Procurement Authority’s approval has been obtained to continue with the transfer. However, the company that has been contracted for the engineering of the contract will see to the pre-financing of the project.
According to the Deputy Minister, prior to this, the Ministry has obtained the PPA’s approval and is expected to seek parliamentary approval for the relocation of the plant where the EPC work will begin.”
Owuraku Aidoo however stated that the contractor estimates that the EPC work will take approximately 6 months after the EPC contract is signed.
Ghana was handed full ownership of the AMERI power plant in January this year but the government’s arrangement with Mytilineos as far as the plants are concerned is shrouded in darkness.
Interestingly, Ghana had spent huge sums of power during the Mahama administration sunk millions of dollars into installing the plant at Aboadze power enclave in the Western Region. But there are reports that huge sums are going to be spent again on the relocation to Awomaso in Kumasi with insurance cover alone swallowing an outrageous amount.
When the NPP assumed power in 2017, the Minister of Energy set up a committee to investigate the agreement. The Committee recommended that the government review or abrogate the contract if AMERI refuses to negotiate.
Subsequently, the government negotiated a novation agreement in 2018, which, on evidence, shows the participation of the office of the President in efforts to transfer the contract from AMERI to Mytilineos. In fact, the cabinet approval of the novation agreement was evaded, and executive approval was signed by the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo.
Again, some civil society organisations criticised the transaction and exposed important hypocrisy in the NPP government; their critique of the AMERI contract as expensive was born out of suspicion that some NDC people were benefiting from the transaction, which should be them. Therefore, the novation agreement they brought as a substitute to the original AMERI contract was worse than the NDC agreement. The novation agreement had cost-padding of about $700 million when they (NPP) criticised the $500 million agreement as being expensive.
Eventually, Boakye Agyarko took the fall to save the face of the President in a transaction he (the President) granted executive approval. Agyarko was sacked in August 2018, for which he subsequently threatened to speak in due course. Ghanaians are still waiting for that day when Agyarko will reveal how the $700 million cost padding occurred.
Despite the past drama on the transaction, the current Energy Minister who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South Constituency in the Ashanti Rgion in connivance with VRA, ECG and GRIDCo Chief executives, have justified the relocation of the Amari Plant to Kumasi through a long-term EPC contract in a manner that hands over the Plant to Mytilineos over some time.
Ghana has fully paid for the Plant, which should ordinarily revert to VRA for the state entity to manage on behalf of the Ghanaian people who have paid the $510 million. Works of VRA are not happy with the arrangement, but the top management is part of the deal to hand the assets to Mytilineos.
The Herald is aware of efforts to bring on board the leadership of the labour union in VRA to coil any upset of the transaction.
In the coming day, The Herald will publish the transaction details to show that the President is only completing what he did not finish in the novation deal under Agyarko through Napo and the chief executives of the power sector agencies.
Ordinarily, if the President believed that Mytilineos worked with Agyarko to attempt milking Ghanaians $700 million, that company should have been sanctioned from doing business in Ghana. But instead, it remained a hibernated NPP foreign front, back with another transaction and with Napo.