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General News of Monday, 27 March 2017


AMERI deal: Judgment debt looms over likely termination – ACEP

Benjamin Boakye, Deputy Executive Director of ACEP Benjamin Boakye, Deputy Executive Director of ACEP

Ghana could be hit with a judgment debt if the government abrogates the AMERI deal signed by the erstwhile John Mahama administration, Benjamin Boakye, Deputy Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), has said.

According to him, the Government of Ghana should rather be blamed for poorly negotiating the deal, not the company.

His comments come in the wake of a 17-member committee chaired by Philip Addison and tasked by Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko to study the deal, revealing that the deal was inflated by $150million by the Mahama administration.

The deal was for the supply of gas turbines to Ghana, which were to provide additional power to the national grid to ease the biting load shedding exercise that plagued the country at the time.

The committee has recommended to the government to recall owners of the Dubai-based company for renegotiation and that if the company refused to honour the invitation for re-negotiation, the government should renounce the agreement on grounds of fraud.

But speaking in interview with Class 91.3FM’s Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on the 505 programme on Monday March 27, Mr Boakye said: “We are just worried about the conclusion that the committee has put out, to say that we should cancel the agreement or call AMERI to come to the negotiation table because the basis for doing that hasn’t really been established.

“We have a contract that is signed, sealed and delivered. AMERI entered into a contract with Ghana and regardless of the flaws that you may find with the agreement, they have delivered on the agreement, so on what basis do you say that we should call them and come and renegotiate when you don’t have any clear case of violation of any law or principle, and so that is what we find quite strange.

“We knew that the deal was bad from the beginning, but we had our people in the room when it was being negotiated, whether it is bloated or not, that is what we negotiated for, so we cannot at this point blame the businessman who has made his money to say that he should come back to renegotiate.”

Asked whether the cancellation could attract a judgment debt, he said: “Absolutely, if you cancel it without having any justification beyond what we are seeing in the report. Unless there is further evidence that implicates AMERI for that deal, we cannot, and I am not sure we will be able to cancel the contract just based on the committee’s report.

“If you read the report, it is rather an indictment on our systems and arrangement on our own leadership and contract negotiations.”