In the wake of a botched AMERI deal, a jobless former Energy Minister and over $100 million lost, experts are now applauding President Akufo-Addo for his decision to relieve Boakye Agyarko of his duties.
On Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, Emmanuel Kuyole, Executive Director for the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA) said that the restructuring of the arrangement was riddled with errors. Agyarko’s decision to revise the deal, he explained, attempted to fix something that wasn’t broken.
“If you cannot provide any issues with the 2015 deal then why change it? We should have rather spent the time and resources that we had to make the existing plan better,” he told the show’s host Daniel Dadzie.
Emmanuel Kuyole, Executive Director, Centre for Extractives and Development Africa
On Joy News’ “Corruption Watch,” a show targeted on exposing exploitation in Ghana, investigative reporters examined the now-defunct AMERI deal and found that in 2015, government entered into an agreement with the Africa & Middle East Resources Investment Group (AMERI Energy). The multi-million deal, signed under former President John Mahama, was created to resolve Ghana’s frequent power outages.
Under the deal, the government of Ghana agreed to pay for a new power plant, which included 10 new gas turbines, at a price of $850,000 per year for five years. The total cost of the entire power plant would cost $510 million, a cost the Parliament approved.
But waters turned murky earlier this year when Agyarko revamped and renamed the agreement to the Novated and Amended AMERI deal. The new deal would require $1.2 billion, an amount many civic society groups say is too high.
“[Agyarko] could have had engagements with some of the necessary parties. Did they engage technocrats? Did they engage civil society groups?” asked Paa Kwasi Anamua Sakyi, an executive director for the Institute for Energy Security (IES). “There were so many missteps that it got all the way to the President’s desk.”
Paa Kwasi Anamua Sakyi, Executive Director, Institute for Energy Security
On Monday, President Akufo-Addo fired the Minister, following a review of the new deal. The President said he was misled to support the revised deal.
Following his removal, Sakyi’s thinktank expressed concern over President Akufo-Addo’s firing of the former Energy Minister, They have called on government to address the multi-million dollar loss to the country.
In a statement released to the media Tuesday, IES pleaded with the current administration to relieve all three Deputy Ministers of Energy including Mohammed Amin Adam Anta, head of petroleum; William Owuraku Aidoo, head of power and Joseph Cudjoe, head of finance and infrastructure.
“IES will be very shocked if any of these persons is given the opportunity to become the substantive Minister of Energy,” the statement read, adding that, “It is common knowledge that the Energy Minister, Mr. Boakye Agyarko doesn’t work alone. The Honorable Minister, in addition to his three deputies, worked with a 7-member committee comprised of representatives from the PURC, Ministry of Finance, VRA and the Attorney-General who recommended the Novation Amendment Agreement to the Minister who in turn forwarded the same to the President.”
Agyarko and members of the Ministry he once led did not immediately respond to requests for comment.