The leader of the committee tasked by government to look into the Ameri deal, Philip Addison, has rejected claims that Ameri’s hospitality extended them influenced their work.
The committee had sent a delegation to Dubai on the invite of Ameri, which the New Patriotic Party government has accused of bloating a power agreement contract by about $150 million.
But the Minority in Parliament rebuked the committee for accepting Ameri’s offer to travel to Dubai, claiming it could have influenced the final report.
They also accused Mr. Addison’s committee of traveling first class ticket, and lodging at a plush hotel in Dubai at the expense of Ameri.
But Mr. Addison on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana on Tuesday, said such was not the case. He argued that the offer could not have influenced the committee’s report.
“We are saying that Ameri owed us close to $200 million, so if it is that they pick a bill for tickets and hotel, how much would that amount to, that it becomes an issue?”
“The delegation that went to Dubai was a government delegation of three. We were supposed to be four, but the Chief Executive of VRA who was supposed to be part of it couldn’t attend because of pressing issues. The payment of these tickets had nothing to do with us. I didn’t go and negotiate for ticket payments. The way it’s being said it’s like I went to Ameri and requested for money to buy tickets. I was sitting in my office and I got the ticket and I got the visa on my phone. So I didn’t go and procure this thing,” he explained.
Mr. Addison, who is also a private legal practitioner, further disclosed that, they went to Dubai to negotiate with Ameri for better terms and not to investigate them.
“I keep reading and hearing that they were supposed to investigate Ameri, no, we were not going to investigate Ameri. We were going to have negotiation not investigation. And there was no antagonistic relationship. So they freely offered to pick up the bill. So I don’t understand when so much noise is being made about this,” he said.
Ameri Power secured a contract from the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government to provide about 250 Megawatts of power for Ghana due to an existing erratic power supply in the country at the time.
However, the New Patriotic Party government upon assuming office, tasked a 17-member committee to investigate the contract, which they believe was not in the best interest of Ghanaians.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, had earlier lambasted the committee for accepting Ameri’s hospitality offer which he said was wrong.
“How can a Ministerial Committee which is a public body tasked to investigate a deal that you claim there was a wrong doing, accept gifts and hospitality? To the extent that it was material and they failed to make the public aware, that is my concern. Are you telling me a public body should accept gifts and hospitality from the very person that you are going to investigate?”
Philip Addison on the Show said “our per diem was given to us here, by the Minister,” adding that they used a business class ticket and not first class.”
On why Ameri sponsored them to Dubai, Mr. Addison said “they [Ameri] said they couldn’t come so we should go. We could have had it anywhere, in Dubai, here or in a third country.”
We were not satisfied after negotiation
Mr. Addison said the committee was not satisfied with Ameri’s position on the matter.
“The outcome of the negotiation was not what we expected, but we engaged them, we told them the position we were coming from, but we did not get what we wanted,” he added.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana