Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Inquiry into PDS concession agreement suspension to take 30 days-Information Minister

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Government says full scale inquiry into the detected breaches of the concession agreement between Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited and Government of Ghana is expected to be completed within 30 days.

The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah speaking at a media briefing in Accra on Thursday, to update the public on the suspension of the PDS concession agreement, said the team conducting the inquiry comprised insurance investigation experts, officials of the Energy and Finance Ministries and officials of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as well as the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).

He said the outcome of the inquiry would determine the nature of the breaches and advice Government on the next course of action.

The Minister said by Tuesday, August 6, the team was expected in DOHA-Qatar, as part of the ongoing inquiry.

He said all the interested parties, including PDS officials have been cooperating with the team that was conducting the inquiry.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said a second team had been tasked to continue engagement with the American government, through its agency- Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) about the possible next steps after the inquiry and channels for sharing information.

He added that the team was expected to travel to the United States next week as part of their engagement with the American Government because the American Government was offering Ghana US$498 million under the Ghana Power Compact II, to improve power distribution across the country.

The Minister said efforts were ongoing to ensure a smooth transition between ECG and PDS officials, adding that, the process was proceeding without any incident.

“We reiterate that this breach was discovered by the due diligence of the Ghanaian authorities through ECG and with the support of state agencies.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the provision of the payment guarantee has always been a condition precedent and was never changed to a condition subsequent as being speculated by some persons,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah emphasized.

The Minister explained that the Initial due diligence led by the transaction advisors did not detect anything wrong doing in the transaction.

He noted that the second level checks led by the Ghana authorities yielded a response from Al-Koot, which confirmed that the demand guarantees were fraudulent.

Additionally, it was a third level check by the Ghana side that detected anomalies within Al-koot thereby triggering a fourth level check.

The Minister stressed that the fourth level check, which involved sending an initial team from the Ghana Mission in Qatar to engage with Al-koot officials for further verification and proved the anomalies and, thus, suggested untoward action which was now the subject of inquiry.

He assured the public that Government would continue to update all stakeholders on the outcome of the inquiry and proceed in accordance with law and terms of the agreement, as it works towards a final resolution of the matter.

The Minister reiterated that the suspension of the concession agreement with PDS would not affect electricity distribution or increase power tariffs in the country.

Present at the media encounter was Mr. John Peter Amewu, the Energy Minister and some officials of the Energy Ministry.

On Tuesday, July 30, Government announced suspension of the concession agreement with PDS due to some anomalies detected in the demand guarantees.

It, therefore, instructed the ECG to take-over the distribution of electricity in the country from PDS as it launched full scale investigation to ascertain the breaches in the concession agreement.

On March 1, 2019, ECG handed-over its operational assets to Meralco Consortium/PDS to manage and the Consortium promised to invest US$580 million within the next five years into power distribution and services, to boost efficiency in the energy sector.

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