The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has rejected accusations that the government was negligent in the exercise of its duty to thoroughly scrutinize documents presented by Power Distribution Services (PDS) before a final agreement was signed for its concession agreement that led to the takeover of the Electricity of Company of Ghana.
He said Ghana’s diligence over the agreement rather revealed the breach by PDS.
“It is as a result of the diligence of the Ghana side that we have discovered that there is a flaw in the guarantees and that is why we have triggered this process,” he said to the media on Wednesday.
He told the media that, the nature of the breach by PDS was such that it was difficult to detect at the initial stage.
“The Millennium Challenge Corporation in the USA did not detect this, the Millennium Development Agency (MiDA) did not detect this, the International Financial Cooperation did not detect this…They are the principal actors even in selecting who the successful bidder is. If this is something that was possible to be detected initially with the combination of all of these organizations looking at it, they would have detected it,” Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.
The government on Tuesday decided to suspend a concessionary agreement with Power Distribution Services (PDS) for distribution of power in Ghana, with immediate effect following what it said was the discovery “of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees).”
Details of the alleged breach revealed that the guarantee presented by PDS was fraudulently procured.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said a full scale-inquiry has been launched, by the government and the other organizations, is ongoing to unravel the situation and the necessary action taken.
While clarifying that the concession agreement rather than the company has been suspended, the Minister cautioned against making hasty conclusions about the situation as the government is in the process to getting to know the extent of the breach.
“It is not healthy to quickly rush into concluding the matter now especially as there is a full scale enquiry going on…Everybody has questions to answer; MiDA, the IFC, Millennium Challenge Compact, Government of Ghana, everybody has questions to answer…What we know is that the company that issued the guarantee tells us that the mandate to issue that guarantee was irregular.”
He said the various concerned agencies have nominated officers who are working to get the details of the problem.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the next line of action of the government will be based on the final result of the probe but suggested that the deal will be cancelled if it emerges that “there was a deliberate attempt to defraud [the country].”
“Fraud vitiates everything,” Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.
The Minister however could not give details as to when the inquiry will be completed.
He further gave assurances that the development will not lead to job losses to staff of PDS as the company, as an entity has not been stopped from carrying out its administrative obligations to employees.
Man who executed contract suspended
The Minister revealed that “The company has already suspended the officer who executed that [guarantee]. The company in Qatar, that is our initial understanding, as they also go through part of this enquiry that we have undertaken.”