Politics of Friday, 16 August 2019
Ghana’s former Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland, H.E Victor Smith, has flayed the Akufo-Addo government, describing the leadership of the current administration as very good at creating avenues for corruption.
The renowned politician said the Akufo-Addo government while in opposition labelled the erstwhile Mahama administration as corrupt, and asked Ghanaians to voted against the National Democratic Congress (NDC), however, after assuming power in 2017, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has shown that it is deeply rooted in corruption than any government that has existed in the Fourth Republic.
Citing the recent suspension of electricity distribution company, PDS, by the government, Ambassador Smith observed that the government was rather an accomplice in the scandal rather than a victim.
He made the assertion on Dwaboase on Power 97.9 FM on Wednesday when asked for his views on the Akufo-Addo’s administration almost 3 years after assuming office.
He went on to state that the government has woefully failed to deal ruthlessly with corrupt officials contrary to what they propagated to Ghanaians in the run-up to the 2016 general elections that ended up winning them the elections.
The government said it detected a fraud with reports of a forged document being involved in the deal. The company that should have guaranteed for PDS reportedly denied knowledge of any documentation to that effect.
But Mr. Victor Smith said if one did a careful analysis of the deal that has inundated media discussion in the country for days, it will be clearer that the government has a hand in the deal to get its cohorts to have more shares in PDS.
“The PDS scandal is a classic example of the corrupt nature of this government. The PDS deal stinks; it’s clear that the [Akufo-Addo] government is corrupt. It shows that this government is into family and friends government. In all fairness, I believe the Finance Minister should be sacked. I see he is in the eye of the storm. The Finance minister [who is the president’s cousin] has overturned the suspension of the PDS contract and has asked them to operate despite the Energy Minister detecting fraud,” Mr. Smith fumed.
He also explained that although PDS had a foreign company as a shareholder, the address of that supposed Angolan company is the same as that of Yoofi Grant, the CEO of Ghana Investment and Promotion Corporation (GIPC).
To him, the PDS deal was carefully crafted to enrich some few people in the Akufo-Addo government, adding that “…Now Ghanaians can see which government is incompetent and corrupt.”
PDS’ operations were suspended in July after it took over from the ECG in February 2019 after winning a bid to run the power distribution in Ghana, as part of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) compact which was signed in 2014 by the erstwhile NDC government.
The deal saw the 20-year concession of the Electric Company of Ghana Ltd (ECG) to PDS.
The Minority has since raised concerns that the majority shareholders of PDS [which is localised] as had earlier been sanctioned by the Akufo-Addo government involved cronies of some key people in government, including an NPP Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Andrew Egyapa Mercer.
He has since denied being a Director for TG Energy Solutions Ghana Limited, one of the companies with shares in PDS although the government has announced investigating the scandal.
The Minority in Parliament has petitioned the US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, demanding formal investigations by the American government into the PDS debacle.
The petition signed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu was personally hand-delivered at the US Embassy in Accra by Ranking Member on Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
The NDC MPs argue that their action is justified as “a clearer picture is now emerging that the Akufo-Addo Government stands complicit with top functionaries and cronies neck-deep in the putrescent sleaze.”
According to the Minority, the Akufo-Addo government “cannot be trusted to conduct thorough and independent investigations into this scandal of monumental proportions.”
They say like most Ghanaians, “they [the Minority] have grown skeptical about so-called investigations by the Akufo-Addo Administration since a countless number of these investigations only end up clearing appointees. The reports are never published and the real culprits are never identified and punished.”
The Minority is of the firm conviction that every possible option must remain on the table “in our collective sacred duty to protect a strategic national interest, the Electricity Company of Ghana, from being balkanized by a marauding greedy cabal in questionable arrangements.”
According to them, their demand for an investigation is buoyed by the knowledge that the US authorities “would not adopt a nonchalant attitude and allow millions of US taxpayer dollars under the signed Compact II of the Millennium Challenge Account to be recklessly misapplied and squandered.”
U.S Embassy’s Response
But the United States government has said it is expecting an independent forensic audit of the PDS concession deal authorised by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) Board of Directors before it makes a decision on the matter.
According to the US Embassy in Ghana, the “U.S. Government strongly supports the decision” which it says is needed before any action is taken on the alleged fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligations to Ghana.
“Only then can all relevant parties make a transparent and evidence-based decision that is in the best interest of the citizens of Ghana,” the Embassy said in response to queries by Citi News.
The Embassy also assured that the US favoured a “transparent, well-run transaction that meets international standards for private sector participation, investment, and operations.”