In a clear case of kicking a poor man in the abdomen even when he is down, some faceless individuals in government have found gold mining opportunities in Ghana’s worse ever power crisis to milk our poor nation dry.
Even in the most distressing of situations which have caused dozens to die, many companies to collapse, millions of job losses for Ghanaians, the perpetual darkness which has turned homes into places of penitentiary, some people have found a gold mine and are digging, looting and amassing wealth in the most unbelievable ways.
The looting has become so obvious and entrenched that in a desperate bid to cover up what has become the AMERI scandal, some officials are by themselves exposing the deep-seated stinking deals that have enveloped our power crisis.
As if the allegations [yes that what they are] by the Norwegian journalists in the infamous AMERI scandal were not jaw-dropping enough, the evidence adduced by the Power Minister and Engineers and Planners, a company owned by the president’s brother is contradictory, heartbreaking and I dare say, self-incriminatory.
The Norwegian newspaper alleged that our poor nation was rich enough to agree to pay 510 million dollars for ten gas turbines which cost 220 million on the market. This means the government will pay 290 million dollars more than it ought to pay. Indeed, the African Centre for Energy Policy ACEP had made similar claims and quoted similar prices as far back as March this year.
In a haste to deny the claims in the Norwegian newspaper, the Power Minister issued a statement saying the 220 million dollars quoted by the newspaper was just the cost of purchasing the turbines and that the cost of other auxiliaries such as balance of plant, civil works, [underline the civil works, I will come back to it again], substation, installation of equipment, cost of financing, operation and maintenance, had not been factored in the process.
I am not an engineer and will not pretend to have any knowledge in that field. But it is curious, isn’t it, that the cost of other auxiliaries is higher than the actual cost of purchasing the turbines.
What is worse is the intervention by Engineers and Planners, the company belonging to Ibrahim Mahama, the brother of president John Mahama.
E&P wants Ghanaians to believe it had nothing to do with the inflated contract with AMERI Group. Maybe it doesn’t. But the statement issued by the company in an attempt to exonerate itself from the claims raised against it also raises more questions.
E&P stated it was contracted by the Volta River Authority to undertake some CIVIL WORKS at Aboadze to prepare a platform to receive the power generating units and other ancillary equipment for the AMERI 250MW Power Project.
Now how did this happen? Let’s go back to our CIVIL WORKS mantra.
The Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor told Ghanaians that instead of paying 220 million cedis for the turbines, he signed a contract to pay 290 million dollars more, bringing the total sum to 510 million dollars because AMERI Group had agreed to take on other auxiliary cost including CIVIL WORKS.
Now E&P claims it has been contracted by the Volta River Authority to undertake the same CIVIL WORKS on the same AMERI Project.
So we have two companies E&P and AMERI Group, doing the same CIVIL WORKS on the same project but has been paid different sums of money? Or are we to believe that VRA contracted E&P to do civil works which will be paid for by AMERI Group?
E&P in its statement said the company “is in no way involved and has no role in AMERI’s contract with the Government of Ghana and the purchase or sourcing of power turbines by AMERI for the generation of power.”
The question is how much was E&P given to undertake the CIVIL WORKS?
Even if by some warped logic, the two companies can be contracted to do the same job, other questions are still begging for answers.
Given that E&P is a company owned by the president’s brother, the issue of conflict of interest will always arise.
Was the procurement process followed in selecting E&P to undertake the CIVIL WORKS? Was it advertised in the newspapers? How was E&P selected?
It even gets murkier when METKA a company paid 350 million dollars from the contract sum of 510 million from the same project says it is expected to conduct Engineering works on the same project.
There is more to this AMERI contract than meets the eye. If our government admits the four-year-old ‘dumsor’ problem is partly financial, how come it is spraying cash around as if the country is swimming in rivers of gold?
Prices of electricity have been hiked by the PURC. Poor Ghanaians are to pay for this AMERI contract. So is this what we are supposed to pay for?