PDS debacle: COPEC calls for prosecution, wants MiDA Board dissolved

The ExecutiChamber of Petroleum Consumers of Ghana (COPEC), Duncan Amoah
Duncan Amoah, Chief Executive Officer of COPEC

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), Ghana is demanding the immediate arrest and prosecution of all persons whose negligence led to the termination of the controversial Power Distribution Services (PDS) agreement.

The Chamber also wants the government to dissolve the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) Board which supervised the botched agreement.

The call follows the government’s decision to terminate the concession agreement after it emerged PDS failed to fulfill all the conditions precedent of the deal which took effect on March 1, 2019.

Critics of the agreement have welcomed the termination of the deal over “fundamental and material breaches.”

In support, COPEC has asked the government to, within 14 days, audit and where necessary surcharge anyone found guilty.

Below is the full statement:

PROSECUTE ALL THOSE WHO ENGAGED IN THE NEGLIGENCE AND ‘FRAUD’ BEFORE ANOTHER CONCESSION

Our attention has been drawn to Government’s decision to finally terminate the PDS deal after months of investigations, accusations, counter accusations, public backlash and media discussions.

Whiles we will ordinarily avoid any public commentary on issues of power and electricity generation, we have become increasingly mindful of the fact that corruption, mismanagement and poor judgement which often results in debts and overruns in the entire energy sector eventually comes back to be added to the price-build up of petroleum products in the form of energy debts.

To this end, we from time to time will continue to exert the necessary pressures on policymakers and managers of all such energy institutions whose actions and inactions continue to lead to avoidable debts in the energy sector.

The decision to give out Electricity Company of Ghana on a 25 year concession agreement to PDS with the view to improving equipments, technology, operations and cash flow is overall not a bad decision except for the overplayed of vested economic and political interests within the entire processes leading to the signing and take over by the PDS.

Whiles commending civil society actors, members of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament and key actors within ECG who even after the concession agreement didn’t go to sleep but kept working in the interests of the state, same cannot be said of some highly placed Government and public officials whose actions and inactions has led us all to this point.

Conditions that should ordinarily be met before the handing over of our ECG were obviously subverted and overlooked by the very people tasked with protecting the public purse.

Bank guarantees that should have been in place before the concession were converted to insurance guarantees which was further procured fraudulently as those who signed for the said insurance brokers ( alkoot ) clearly didn’t have any real mandates to do so but our poor due diligence couldn’t even reveal this fundamental fraud until several months after handing over of ECG to PDS.

Governments assurance to investigate and punish those engaged in the said fraud within a month period was clearly violated also as the suspended PDS found its way back to managing of the very entity it had been accused by the current Energy Minister of obtaining fraudulently was handed back to them even after a suspension by the Energy Commission.

PDS has since been managing the assets and workforce of our ECG without anyone answering any questions for the said ‘fraud’ said to have been perpetrated on the government and people of Ghana.

The realisation that it had to take the Millennium Compact Challenge ( USA ) issuing a deadline for the government of Ghana to terminate the entire PDS deal on or before the 18th of October 2018 or be sent a de-obligation order following which the Finance Minister had to issue a 9 page memo cancelling the PDS deal leaves a lot to be desired.

The following continues to remain unresolved and we will want to have the Government work harder within the next 14 days to address in the interest of public good:

(1) An immediate arrest and prosecution of all persons connected to this apparent fraud perpetrated on the Government and people of this country.

(2) An immediate audit, publication and where necessary surcharge of any financial losses occasioned by this whole concession agreement and findings communicated publicly within the next two weeks.

(3) A proper and a forensic audit to be conducted on all transactions engaged upon by the said PDS and to determine financial compliance or otherwise of any such transactions in respect of all public monies received, payments made, tax obligations, emoluments and pay outs to accomplices and prosecutions be made if any dubious transactions have been occasion since the takeover.

(4) To immediately take steps to ensure all public and government officials so connected either directly or remotely to this fraudulent PDS deal be made to suffer all such consequences as prescribed in the discharge of their obligations to the state and Ghanaians in general.

(5) For the President of the Republic to act, within the next two weeks to effectively terminate the appointments of all such appointees whose negligence or complicity lead to this fraudulent PDS debacle that has caused the nation this international embarrassment.

(6) To take steps to ensure the right and proper steps are followed in the selection process for the next possible concessionaire agreement, as any attempts to side step the processes will be fiercely and forcefully resisted.

(7) The proposed restrictive tendering process announced be rather opened to the right entities instead of selecting friends and cronies who may not have the needed capacity and experiences to handle this concession and as well as ensuring a very transparent process as any attempts to reengineer or foist another PDS on us will be legally resisted.

(8) A thorough and a comprehensive review of the whole concession idea, by impressing on Government to rather make the neccesary investments in the current ECG whiles taking steps to listing on the stock exchange to attract public shareholding and ownership of ECG.

The ever mounting debts in the energy sector is clearly one that can be solved if only we moved away from all the negative business practices in the sector by ensuring a wider transparency and efficient policies that does not only enrich a few whiles the accumulated debts only get pushed onto the already suffering Ghanaian who had no idea of such bad decisions in the energy sector.

Signed

Duncan Amoah
Executive Secretary

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