The Minority in Parliament will be petitioning the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over alleged malfeasance by the Philip Addison-led committee investigating the AMERI deal, as it undertook a trip to Dubai as part of its work.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, noted that the Information Minister confirmed that the committee’s trip to Dubai was financed by AMERI, where they were said to have traveled first class, stayed in first class hotels and were given per diem and additional money for shopping.
He had scathing words for the Committee’s conduct in a Citi News interview, which he described as “embarrassing, unethical and shameful.”
“I am going to take this matter to CHRAJ to probe the committee. I am going to petition CHRAJ for them to probe this company,” Mr. Ato Forson stated, adding that the petition would be filed by the Minority after Easter.
The Minority had also used this revelation, among other points, as bases to rubbish the findings of the committee given that it had some skeletons in its own closet.
“For a government that claims it wants to investigate a contractor for wrongdoing, this contractor pays for your ticket, gives you a hotel, goes further to give you per diem and gave the committee members some money for the purposes of shopping.”
The key questions raised by this, according to Mr. Ato Forson, are whether the amounts given to the committee members was material to the extent that it was going to influence their judgement; what the intent of the money and treatment was, and whether the amount spent on the committee members was disclosed to the country.
“Clearly, they failed to disclose the matter, and what is the intent behind the failure to disclose the matter? In terms of materiality, the amount given to them and flying them first class is enough justification to make it material. Putting them in a first class hotel is worse, and the fact that they accepted per diem and shopping money from the contractor.”
“What makes the matter worse is that, I am hearing that since they came back, they made a phone call to ECG telling ECG to pay every unpaid invoice of AMERI,” Mr. Ato Forson alleged further.
Addison committee’s findings
The 17-member committee, which has been working under the auspices of the Energy Minister, said Ghana was made to pay $150 million extra in commission to Africa & Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) Group LLC for the construction of a power plant.
The committee was constituted on grounds of the $150 million anomaly, as well other financial, technical and legal issues, and recommended that AMERI be made to re-negotiate the deal or be rejected by Government on grounds of fraud.
The committee maintains that AMERI in its agreement with government dated February 10th, 2015, charged Ghana significantly higher than what it was charged by the Turkish registered company, PPR, which financed and executed the project.
The Turkish firm pegged the total cost of the project, which is to span over a 5-year period at a maximum of 360 million dollars.
However, the Build Operate Own Transfer (BOOT) agreement signed between government and AMERI was pegged at a minimum of 510 million dollars.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/ctifmonline.com/Ghana