General News of Tuesday, 15 December 2015
A member of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Abraham Amaliba, has said there is no law that barred Mr Umar Farooq Zahoor, who is a criminal on Interpol’s wanted list, from signing for Dubai firm AMERI, as a witness to a power purchase deal between the company and the Republic of Ghana.
Norwegian newspaper VG exposed Mr Zahoor’s involvement in the deal after an investigation. The paper also reported that Ghana could have bought the 225-MW turbines at $220 million rather than the $510 million Build Operate Own and Transfer (BOOT) deal reached between the two parties.
Speaking on Class91.3fm’s ‘Point of Law’, Mr Amaliba told host, Godwin Agyei-Gyamfi that despite Mr Zahoor’s criminal history, there was no law that prohibited him from signing as a witness to the deal.
He said he was puzzled by criticisms that Zahoor’s criminal history casts a slur on the integrity of the deal as well as calls into question the extent of due diligence done by the Government of Ghana.
“I’m baffled because he did not sign as a witness to Ghana. He signed for AMERI. Farooq is not our business,” he said.
Mr Amaliba’s comments are in tandem with a similar sentiment expressed by a communication consultant with the Energy Ministry, Edward Bawa, that the criminal history of Farooq Zahoor, is “tangential” to the sanctity of the contract.
According to Edward Bawa, “the due diligence we conducted on AMERI was to see whether they can do x, y, z …” and, so, the Norwegian newspaper’s revelation is neither here nor there.
“I am saying that we should not concern ourselves with the fact that an employee of that particular place, who is not even the principal signatory to the agreement, has a chequered history and on the basis of that we will question if due diligence was done.
“…As we speak now the plant is here in Ghana and being commissioned, so, at least, we have made all the various checks to know that they could deliver the plant and they have delivered, so, as to whether Umar Farooq is a thief, he’s a fraudster, is tangential to the main issue,” Mr Bawa stressed in an interview with Ekow Mensah-Shalders, host of class91.3fm’s Executive Breakfast Show.