Special Aide to former President John Dramani Mahama, Joyce Bawah Mogtari has questioned claims President Akufo-Addo was misled into approving the controversial AMERI deal.
A publication by pro-government newspaper, ‘The Statesman’ suggested that the government had made a U-turn with the renegotiated AMERI deal after it gave its approval for Parliamentary consideration.
“It is emerging that President Akufo-Addo was misled into granting executive approval for the deal under the guise of there being an urgent need to have a bill laid in Parliament before its rising,” The Statesman reported.
Barely a day after the news run rife, Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko was relieved of his post. Although a statement from the Presidency failed to give reasons for his dismissal, reports suggest it is in relation to the renegotiated Ameri deal.
Reacting to the development, Mogtari in a statement said Akufo-Addo couldn’t have been misled.
“Embarrassed, called out, and desperately trying to cover up, the President, true to his family and friends’ nature, is using his nephew to feign ignorance and claim he was misled. But was he? How was he misled? How could he even have been misled? How would he have had the executive order signed if indeed he was misled? Is that how he operates at the presidency?” she queried.
Mogtari indicated that the government is just finding reasons to cover up its guilt having faced a tough opposition as regards the deal.
“The shockingly inept agreement was hurriedly approved by the President, by Executive Order, in what has become yet another major corruption scandal in these twenty extremely eventful months of Akufo-Addo’s administration. Thanks to the resistance of the ordinary Ghanaian, staff of the Volta River Authority, the opposition NDC and many others, the blatant attempt to hoodwink the country by the NPP government had to be abandoned. It was clear to even previous allies of the government that this was a massive case of well-coordinated corruption by the men at the top,” she noted.
“To protect himself, the Minister for Energy has been sacked. Is that the end of the latest attempt to defraud the people of Ghana by the President, his men and ministers?” the lawyer added.
The AMERI deal
The John Mahama-led administration in 2015 agreed to rent 300MW of emergency power from AMERI at the peak of the country’s power crisis.
As part of the deal, AMERI was to build the power plants and operate them for 5 years before transferring it to the government.
The cost of the deal was $510 million and received parliamentary approval on March 20, 2015.
The approval of the deal was met with stiff opposition but eventually received endorsement by the legislative body.
It later emerged that the government had been short-changed by AMERI as they presented an overpriced budget.
The reports said the government had paid in excess of $150 million but state officials of the Mahama government disagreed.
The New Patriotic Party government which assumed office said it would look into the matter.
New deal and opposition
The new deal would see Ghana and a new company Mytilineous pay off AMERI so Mytilineous will take over management of the plant for some 15 years, what many critics have described as a stab in the back of Ghanaians.
Staff of the Volta River Authority described the deal as one that is needless and will bring more hardship to the people of Ghana.