General News of Monday, 10 July 2017
Siemens, a German conglomerate, with a checkered past due to several corrupt practices that had led to investigations both in Europe and the United States (US) Department of Justice, seems to be up to its old tricks in Ghana.
A couple of America’s law enforcement agencies, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have investigated Siemens for possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) from 2006 to 2008, and was involved in a corruption case in China in 2011.
Siemens via its subsidiary, formed a joint venture in Ghana sometime in 2016, to compete in a gas compressor supply contract in the ENI Sankofa Gas-field project.
It is believed that, Siemens won the contract to supply a compressor package to process the ENI Gas coming from the Sankofa field to Sanzule, a town near Takoradi.
While, Siemens won the ENI contract to supply two compressors, an indigenous Ghanaian company, won a similar contract to supply a third compressor to the Ghana Gas Company, to also process the Gas coming from the Sankofa field at the Ghana Gas plant in Atuabo.
Insiders disclosed that ENI, had wanted Siemens to supply the third compressor, but this option was not exercised, because Ghana Gas wanted an indigenous company to have the opportunity to perform the contract of supplying the third compressor in the interest of local participation competency in this area.
All this changed after Officials from Siemens, according to sources at the Flagstaff House, visited President Akufo-Addo in February 2017, under the guise of promoting its technology to the new Government.
The German company, was led to the presidency by a top man at the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) with influence stretching to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) headquarters at Asylum Down- Accra.
This paper has it on authority that, at the meeting the Siemens team, promised to loan the government of Ghana USD$100M; a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), was signed and confirmed at the G20 meeting in Berlin in May, 2017.
Shortly after the visit to the Flagstaff House by officials of Siemens, Energy Minister, Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko, who may have been misled by Siemens and ENI, authorised the Ghana Gas Corporation, to stop working on the plan to contract the supply of the third compressor to the Ghanaian company and instead, authorised ENI to award Siemens the contract to supply the third compressor.
Checks with people in the industry and the petroleum commission, point to the minister’s excuse for this conduct being that, ENI wants to have the compressors delivered by the end of 2017, so Ghana can secure its first gas in February 2018.
However, further checks at the Petroleum Commission, seems to point the fact that, the third compressor to be supplied by Siemens, was taken away from the Ghana Company, is due for delivery in May 2018, thereby, raising doubts about the position of ENI that supply by the Ghanaian company will delay gas delivery from the Sankofa field.
Although this paper is convinced that Siemens commitment to loan the country USD$100M influenced the minister’s decision, as there was no technical or commercial reasons to award the contract to them.
Protests by the Ghanaian Company to the Energy Minister and Ghana Gas, have fallen on deaf ears.
The following are unanswered questions directed at the Minister and the Government.
Was the Minister’s decision to have ENI award the contract to supply the third compressor to the detriment of an indigenous Ghanaian company to Siemens based on technical and commercial merits.
Was Siemens commitment of USD$100M a mere coincidence to they getting awarded the contract to supply the third compressor or an inducement
If a Ghana Company can do the job that Siemens is doing, why award the contract to Siemens
Are we now seeing another incidence of corruption by a company (Siemens) with a history of corrupt practices now rearing its ugly head in Ghana’s Oil and Gas sector?
How do we develop our local content if we allow questionable foreign companies to dominate our industries?
Are we allowing two companies (Siemens and ENI) that have been internationally investigated and charged for corrupt practices come practice their craft here in Ghana while we preach change?
Is the Energy Minister paying lip service to local content even though he keeps preaching it?
This paper is investigating this and other matters, pertaining to the activities of Siemens and ENI, in the burgeoning Oil and Gas sector in Ghana.