General News of Saturday, 19 October 2019
Government’s findings on the controversial Power Distribution Service (PDS) deal will be made public in a few days, Energy Minister, Peter Amewu has said.
“The suspension is in place. Government is taking measures to address the problem and the issue that led to the suspension and we are taking our time to examine every issue that led to the suspension then we can take a firm decision.”
“You will remember that the suspension has been extended…We will come out clearly and I am sure that within the next few days you will be hearing the government’s position,” Mr. Amewu said on Eyewitness News.
On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, the government announced the suspension of the concession agreement and explained that the decision followed the “detection of fundamental and material breaches” on the part of PDS.
Two teams were subsequently tasked to probe allegations of contractual breaches between government and PDS.
The teams were sent to Qatar and the United States for the probe and had since presented their report to government.
FTI Consulting, a United States-based consulting firm commissioned by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to investigate whether or not PDS Ltd duly won the contract to manage the assets of the ECG, also confirmed that insurance guarantees were, indeed, paid to back the PDS’ takeover of the assets and operations of the ECG.
A 32-page report submitted by FTI Consulting to MiDA, dated September 3, 2019 and signed by Pat Pericak and David Okhumal, both officials of the consulting firm, said: “We have not seen any documents that would suggest that, as of March 1, 2019, PDS, Cal Bank, Donewell and/or personnel from MiDA should have questioned the validity of the payment securities.”
“We further note that officials from Al Koot confirmed to K&L Gates, a law firm in Qatar, that the stamp applied on the Acknowledgement and Agreement page of the Payment Securities is that of Al Koot. They further confirmed that the signatures are those of Al Nouri and Fadi Danghouth, who are employees of Al Koot,” the report disclosed in response to claims by Al Koot that the staff who signed the insurance guarantee did not have the authority to do so.
But government has urged for calm calling in Ghanaians to await government’s report.
PDS is a consortium between Manila Electric (Meralco) of The Philippines, 30 percent share, Aenergia SA (Angola), 19 percent; Santa Baron Ventures Ghana, 13 percent, TG Energy Solution Ghana, 18 percent, GTS Engineering Ghana Limited, 10 perent, and TBK Ghana Limited, 10 percent.
The suspension order was due to alleged material breaches in the provision of the demand guarantees by PDS, which were key prerequisites for the turn over of the assets and facilities.
But a week after the suspension, ECG and PDS agreed on an interim arrangement where the Meralco-led consortium would still continue activities related to the retail of electricity to ensure continued power supply and service to consumers.
These activities include meter reading, billing, distribution of bills, bill reconciliation, revenue collection and new service connections.
Despite the suspension, PDS is still responsible for disconnections and reconnections, faulty meter replacements, network faults and repairs, complaints and fault reporting to the call centers, and any other related service.
The Meralco-led PDS signed the concession agreement with ECG on March 1, a year after Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) chose Meralco as the preferred bidder for private-sector participation in ECG and the Parliament of Ghana approved the 20-year concession agreement.
After the end of the concession, all assets would be transferred back to ECG.