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General News of Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Ghana loses $190m US money over ‘unwarranted’ PDS termination

Ghana has lost a $190 million granted by its US partners as part of a power concession agreement.

A statement from the US embassy Tuesday said the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has confirmed that the money is no longer available after Ghana decided to terminate the concession agreement with Power Distribution Services (PDS).

The money was available upon a successfully executed concession agreement, the statement said.

“Based upon the conclusions of the independent forensic investigation, the U.S. position is that the transfer of operations, maintenance, and management of the Southern Distribution Network to the private concessionaire on March 1, 2019, was valid and therefore the termination is unwarranted,” the US says.

Government of Ghana, however, decided to terminate the agreement over material and fundamental breaches from PDS.

The government says PDS’ demand guarantees cannot be verified.

Al-Koot, a Qatari company which PDS submitted as the ones who issued the demand guarantees deny doing so, raising concerns of fraud.

After an initial suspension of PDS, government, in a letter to the MCC, said it has decided to terminate the agreement with PDS.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, however, told the MCC Ghana would want to replace PDS by restrictive tendering.

The MCC’s statement gives no response to the request.

The opposition National Democratic Congress and some groups have, however, indicated their mistrust with such a process.

Crusaders Against Corruption, “an NGO standing for the welfare and economic interest of the Ghanaian people” has asked the government to flee from the idea of restricted tendering.

“Immediate plans must be instituted to open up the ownership of this new concession to all Ghanaians,” the group said in a statement.

NDC has also warned the government against entering another concession agreement without going through due diligence.