General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017
The home of a member of the Phillip Addison Committee, has been raided by government agents, as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) desperately digs for evidence to nail appointees of the Mahama administration to prove their corruption claims against the previous administration.
Francis W. K. Dzata, arguably one of Ghana’s best brains in Emergency Power Construction, and who had served on the 17-member Phillip Addison Committee put together by the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko to investigate the AMERI Power project.
His home was stormed by Personnel of Police Criminal Investigative Department (CID) who confiscated his laptop, phones and other items, saying they were carrying another probe into the project.
But The Herald is informed that, behind the new investigation, is a massive power play at the Energy Ministry, most likely to consume Energy Minister anytime President Akufo-Addo effects a reshuffle.
Already, Boakye Agyarko, has been branded as one of the underperforming ministers in the government and the once vocal man, is barely heard on issues bothering on his ministry.
Boakye Agyarko, is said to be living on borrowed days, he is said to be unaware of the new AMERI investigations and the home raids. The investigation is being directed by family members of President Akufo-Addo.
The CID raid inside Francis Dzata’s house yesterday, was said to be akin to the raid at the residence of former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor on Monday.
Like Dr. Donkor, the police claim Mr. Dzata, is also accused of causing financial loss to the state in the $510 million AMERI deal.
Mr. Dzata, a former technical advisor to the Energy Ministry was the Co-ordinator of the Emergency Power Programme at the Ministry of Energy under President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Mr. Dzata, who supervised the construction of the AMERI power plant, has described the government investigation into the project as a wild goose chase, which will come to nothing.
He is said to have disagreed with the leaked Phillip Addison Committee report on the AMERI project.
The report was said to have been prepared by Phillip Addison, Madam Vicky Bright and one other member.
The Herald is informed that some family members of the President, have taken over the Energy Ministry and shoved aside Boakye Agyarko and running the ministry from their homes and private offices inside Labone – Accra, while drawing their powers from the seat of government; The Flagstaff House. It is these family members, who are behind the ongoing home raids.
They are said to have contacts with the owners of Ameri both here in Ghana and Dubai of the projects. Some of President Akufo-Addo relatives have had to carry out some agency jobs for the company.
On Monday, CID officers raided the residence of former Power Minister under the John Mahama administration.
Mr. Dzata, who revealed the police officers arrived at his house with a warrant demanding to search the premises and told him he was being investigated on suspicion for causing financial loss to the state.
Narrating what happened, he said he was informed that some CID officers were at his residence so he drove home to meet them and was served with a warrant.
“I saw six or so people in my house with a warrant stating that they were looking for laptops and phones in connection with the AMERI deal which has led to a financial loss to the state.
“I don’t know why a technocrat like me should be subjected to something like this because I think I gave everything and sacrificed to get Ghana out of dumsor. I am very upset but I gave them the chance to do their search,” he told Joy News Tuesday.
According to him, he gave the phones and what they wanted to them, but stated categorically “as far as we are concerned, we worked as professionals. I am not a decision-maker I was to implement a project and I have done that faithfully for my country.”
The AMERI deal was signed as an emergency power agreement in February 2015, between government represented by the Minister of Power and AMERI Energy, to ameliorate the country’s power challenges at the time.
IMANI Ghana led by Franklin Cudjoe, had claimed that the cost of the project was outrageously high. The Nana Akufo-Addo government, therefore, set up a committee to look into the deal.
The Committee, led by a private legal practitioner, Phillip Addison in its report disclosed 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 $360million yet AMERI charged $510million for the plant.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor at a press conference in April this year, stated that due diligence was done in the purchasing of the plant and does not understand how the previous government is being accused of wrong doing.
“The agreement went through Cabinet, the Committee on Mines and Energy, recommended by consensus and was passed by Parliament.
“If there was fraud, why wouldn’t the committee recommend straight away the termination of the contract and take criminal action,” Dr. Donkor queried.
Regarding overpricing the deal and some persons profiting from $150 million, he said it is a known practice that a go between deserves “something in commission.”
“It is true that AMERI deal was done for $360 million, but AMERI is a developer and the circumstances under which they made the deal was like buying a car under a hire purchase deal.
“AMERI is a hire purchase plant where you pay a fixed amount over 60 months and the plant becomes yours. After five years this plant belongs to Ghana, who collects the money?” he queried.
He said, if Ghana had her own money to the tune of $320 million, the technocrats, could have built the plant, even though it would have taken them close to a year and not 90 days.
He said as far as technocrats are concerned they did what they were supposed to do to alleviate the country’s concerns then.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament, has described the raid by CID on the residence of former Power Minister, as “dastardly.”
According to them, the act is shameful and sad development in a country that upholds the rights of its citizens to privacy.
In a statement issued Tuesday and signed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority said the defense that the raid “was based on the order of a lower court provides an inadequate defense.”
“The Minority considers as unacceptable any action of any state agency that impedes the work of a sitting member of parliament and this improper conduct amounts to contempt of Parliament under Article 122 of the Constitution.
“The dawn raid on the residence of Hon Kwabena Donkor has nothing to do with the AMERI project. After all, government itself has publicly claimed just recently that it has in its possession all relevant documents in respect of the Ameri project, following the establishment of the Phillip Addison committee,” the statement said.
The Minority said it was willing and ready to cooperate with the government and its agencies to investigate any claim of malfeasance pursuant to proper due process.
“However, we abhor the use of crude tactics only intended to instill fear and terror amongst our members.
“Available records from Parliament will attest to the fact that, the Ameri agreement which was submitted to the August house for approval was considered by the relevant committee and approved unanimously on the floor,” the statement added.
Below is the statement:
The Minority in Parliament condemns in very strong terms the dastardly act of raiding the private residence of Dr. Kwabena Donkor, an honourable member of parliament, early in the morning ostensibly to conduct a search and the subsequent seizure of his laptop and other media of communication.
This is shameful and sad in a country that upholds the rights of its citizens to privacy.That it was based on the order of a lower court provides an inadequate defence.
Under our the Constitution, the integrity of citizen’s private communication is highly protected and it is only under exceptional circumstances that it can be breached. It is even more troubling that the Honourable Member has never been informed until he was shown the court order that he is a suspect in any investigation.
The Minority considers as unacceptable any action of any state agency that impedes the work of a sitting member of parliament and this improper conduct amounts to contempt of Parliament under Article 122 of the Constitution.
This breach of privilege clearly undermines the ability of the Honourable Member of Parliament to perform his legitimate duties and by extension negate the work of Parliament.
The dawn raid on the residence of Hon Kwabena Donkor has nothing to do with the AMERI project. After all, government itself has publicly claimed just recently that it has in its possession all relevant documents in respect of the Ameri project following the establishment of the Phillip Addison committee.
The invasion of Hon Donkor’s residence signals the era of a calculated programme to harass and intimidate vociferous members of the minority and stifle the progress of our democratic process.
Our democracy and the freedoms it guarantees is under attack and we in the minority will not sit idly by and watch. We will resist it with all the force at our disposal.
We wish to state in unequivocal terms that the Minority is willing and ready to cooperate with Government and its agencies to investigate any claim of malfeasance pursuant to proper due process, however, we abhor the use of crude tactics only intended to instill fear and terror amongst our members.
Available records from Parliament will attest to the fact that, the Ameri agreement which was submitted to the August house for approval was considered by the relevant committee and approved unanimously on the floor.
It is therefore surprising for the same side that spoke favourably about this project which culminated in its approval can suddenly claim it is fraught with irregularities.
Ghanaians can attest to the hard work, strategic investment and clear vision brought to bear by the NDC Government to resolve the debilitating power crisis that crippled the nation and wishes to caution that by the continued act of vilification, threats and gorilla tactics on the Ameri project and persons associated with its successful implementation, Ghana risks a return to the era of load shedding which the NDC Government had resolved before leaving office.
Once again we in the Minority would like to emphasise our undiminished resolve to continue to hold the feet of the Akufo Addo-Bawumia government to the fire of accountability and no amount of intimidation brute force or cowardly acts such as is being perpetrated will cow or petrify us into inaction.
We are a law abiding people.
Hon. Haruna Iddrisu
25th July 2017