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General News of Sunday, 27 June 2021


US$170m judgement debt: Govt’s own arbitrator disagreed with termination - NDC lawyer

Legal practitioner Edudzi Kudzo Tamakloe Legal practitioner Edudzi Kudzo Tamakloe

• Ghana is saddled with a US$170m judgement debt over cancellation of a power agreement

• A Mahama-era contract with GPGC was terminated by the current government

• The current Attorney General has hinted that criminal investigations will be undertaken by police to bring culprits to book

Legal practitioner and member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Edudzi Kudzo Tamakloe, has disclosed that a government appointed arbitrator in the terminated power contract case disagreed with the state according to court records.

Government of Ghana's termination of a power agreement with Ghana Power Generation Company, GPGC, led to a US$170 million judgement debt that has dominated news headlines in the past week.

Speaking on Accra-based Citi FM last Friday, June 25, Edudzi said government as is international practice in international litigation, GoG had appointed an arbitrator - whose name he did not mention - but that the official after hearing government's submissions could not agree with the state's position on the termination.

He said in comments monitored by GhanaWeb: "Because it was arbitration, Government of Ghana came with its own arbitrator, that is like a judge. Government of Ghana came with its own judge.

"When the panel evaluated the evidence put forward by the Government of Ghana, even the judge that government of Ghana even appointed could not agree with the position of government on this termination.

"Government’s own judge out of the three cannot agree with this government," he stressed.

The oroiginal contract was awarded under the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama government as part of power agreements meant to cure 'dumsor' - the rolling power outages at the time.

According to reports, in August 2017, then Attorney General Gloria Akuffo issued an opinion on the agreement in response to a cabinet directive where she noted as follows:

“… It has become necessary to review the implementation of the PPAs, because should all of them be implemented as originally scheduled, it would result in the production of excess energy with its attendant cost which would worsen the financial situation of the power sector. A review would therefore help to cut back on losses that would be incurred.”

But in 2018, the New Patriotic Party, NPP, government via then Energy Minister Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko terminated the contract.

GPGC subsequently dragged government to a London-based United Nations Commission on International Trade Tribunal, UNCITRAL - after a protracted process - the court on June 8, 2021 awarded in excess of $170 million to the company after Ghana failed to take advantage of a window for appeal in an arbitration related to cancellation of the power contract.

The former Energy Minister, Mr Agyarko, has defended the termination of the contract whiles the current Attorney General is on record to have said the police Criminal Investigations Department has been tasked to probe the entire contract.