General News of Thursday, 31 December 2015
A Deputy Communications Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu has said that the John Mahama-led administration sees ‘nothing with the AMERI deal’ which created controversy in the country.
Norwegian Newspaper, VG in a widely circulated publication claimed that Ghana was shortchanged in the deal which brought the AMERI plant into the country to help deal with the over three year old power crisis, Dumsor.
A witness in the contract who was said to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AMERI Group, Umar Farooq Zahoor, was said in the publication to be a wanted fraudster.
Farooq Zahoor, according to VG, is on the wanted list of Norwegian police and Interpol for his lead roles in various scams in Norway and other countries.
The publication also alleged that the $510 million power deal could have been gotten at lower cost — quoting about $220 million as the going price for the 10 power generators on wheels.
And this contract, NPP’s 2016 Vice Presidential Candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said is part of the level of incompetence he talks about in government.
The Deputy Communications Minister speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen Programme Thursday said is not fraught in corruption as had been touted by the NPP.
“It is a lie which was put forth by the Norwegian newspaper and AMERI is already dealing with that…,” he said.
Quoting a letter from the Ministry of Roads and Highway to Parliament which is possession of Adomonline.com, the Deputy Minister said it was true the acquisition of the plant would have cost Ghana $471 million to purchase the plant over 5 years.
“The total cost of the purchase option over five (5) years is estimated at US$411 million, whilst for the rental of the equipment over five (5) years, the total cost would be US$471 million.
“However, we chose the BOOT option of US$510 million,” portions of the letter with reference number SCR/RN238/238/01 dated 17th March, 2015 read.
The letter further explained that the major equipment such as transformer, switchgear and gas turbine units is usually 9-12 months. Hence the additional cost of the BOOT of about US$19.8 million a year must be compared to the one year delay of the purchase option.
“In our the cost to the economy of the current load shedding for one year is far higher than the US$99 million difference between the BOOT and the outright purchase. Furthermore, for the rental option, the difference would have been US$39 million. As a result, the BOOT option was deemed to be the best option as the units could be retained by government and run for additional fifteen (15) years,” the letter signed by then Power Minister, Kwabena Donkor explained.
According to Kwakye Ofosu, the government ‘chose the best scenario based on sound technical advice from experts at the Volta River Authority (VRA)’.
he further added that the desperate opposition, ‘muddied the waters’ with the publication just to create the impression that the government was corrupt and was inflating cost of projects to make money.