General News of Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Four detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service yesterday went to the private residence of Dr Kwabena Donkor, former Minister for Power under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, headed by John Dramani Mahama.
The officers, led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), according to reports, stormed the Spintex Road house with a warrant demanding to search the premises in connection with an ongoing investigation into the controversial AMERI power deal.
Dr Donkor, DAILY GUIDE learnt, is being investigated with regards to the AMERI contract, and is likely to be charged with willfully causing financial loss to the state.
The officers, according to police sources, got to the former power minister’s private residence at dawn while he was still asleep, but his security man later alerted him about a police presence at the premises.
When the Pru East MP came out to meet the detectives, he reportedly examined the search warrant and thereafter cooperated with the law enforcers after they had disclosed that they were there for AMERI documents.
Four flash drives and a laptop were said to have been seized by the officers in the course of the search.
Dr Donkor told Joy Fm in a subsequent interview that he was sleeping when one of his staff in his house told him that some plain-clothed policemen wanted to enter the house.
He said he quickly dressed up and met them at the gate where they produced a warrant signed by an Accra Circuit Court judge.
“It said that application has been made to the court to permit the search on grounds that I have caused financial loss to the state and this was the first time I was hearing about it,” he said.
Dr Kwabena Donkor said when he allowed the men into his property, they took two hours searching the house, adding that they took along his flash drives and personal laptop. One of them, he said, hinted that the investigation was about the AMERI deal.
The former minister said all documents on AMERI are public materials and that they were submitted to parliament, and so there was absolutely no private document in his custody.
“In any case, if they were investigating AMERI, I probably didn’t expect that as a sitting MP, they should come to me with a search warrant,” he protested.
The previous Mahama administration, in the heat of the dumsor (erratic power supply) in February 2015, entered into a $510 million deal with AMERI for the supply of power plants to mitigate the power crisis.
But media reports indicated that the cost of the project was outrageously high, thus compelling the Nana Akufo-Addo government to set up a committee to look into the contract.
The committee, led by a private legal practitioner, Phillip Addison, disclosed in its report that it found technical and financial lapses in the contract.
On the financial side, the committee found out that although AMERI secured the deal, the developer that built and financed the plant charged $360 million yet AMERI forwarded a bill of $510 million in the agreement.
The story was first published by popular Norwegian news outlet Verdens Gang (VG), giving graphic details about the generators’ deal and how the NDC government officials, including Dr Kwabena Donkor, were involved in what the paper said was fraud perpetrated on Ghanaians.
According to the award-winning Norwegian newspaper, the turbines were estimated to cost $220 million on the international market but the NDC government contracted them for $510 million.
VG investigated what happened after the Pakistani-born Norwegian, Umar Farooq Zahoor, a top director of the AMERI Group, acquired 10 gas turbines for Ghana for $510 million.
VG’s investigation showed that the turbines usually go for $220 million and so the paper wondered why the West African country (referring to Ghana) paid $290 million more than the standard price.
Apart from the equipment price of $510 million, Ghana would pay $16 million annually in addition for gas supply to the turbines.
There are strong suspicions that AMERI Group might be a single-purpose company, as it has no track-record in the power generation industry.