Last week a Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang (VG) published an article that suggested that Ghana’s $510 million deal with the Ameri Group LLC for the supply of gas plants towards solving the protracted energy crisis was shrouded with mystery.
According to the newspaper, the man who signed the deal on behalf of Ameri as a witness, Umar Farooq Zahoor was a Pakistani Norwegian man from Oslo, who was wanted for fraud and organised crime and yet Ghana went ahead to sign a deal with him as a witness.
The newspaper’s publication suggested that Ghana could have purchased the gas plants at about $220 million with an outright purchase and wondered why the country offered to pay $290 million more than the standard price on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) agreement.
Government in a response explained that the thrust of the newspaper’s publication that the Ministry of Power, entered into an arrangement with a company with dubious background with an inflated contract sum was false and described the publication as misleading and gross misrepresentation of facts.
It said government had not entered into any agreement with Umar Farooq Zahoor and that the government had an agreement with Ameri with its chairman as Sheikh Mohamed AL Maktoum who signed the agreement for his firm.
On Tuesday the Ameri Group issued a statement and insisted that the deal was properly done and that there was nothing untoward about how it was started till its current stage.
The group explained that Umar Farooq who was referred to by VG as a fraudster and wrongly portrayed as the owner of Ameri no longer works for the company since August 2015.
It said it was false for the newspaper to create the impression that Mr. Farooq, on his own caused the transaction to occur. "It is a matter of record that the sole owner of the above mentioned company is His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai UAE."
The Company said it had retained international law firms to press legal charges against the VG newspaper while committing itself to continuing to work to help resolve Ghana’s power crisis.
Following the newspaper's publication, Parliament has been criticised for rushing the agreement when it was placed before the House; thus, depriving members the opportunity to properly scrutinize it.
Here is the full memo from Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor to Parliament:
Credit- Daily Graphic