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How Akufo-Addo Family Quarrel Sunk Ghana In US$164 Million Judgment Debt

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The Herald’s preliminary investigation into the US$164 million judgment debt awarded the Ghanaian company GCGP Limited by the International Court of Arbitration, is revealing that a family feud between President Akufo-Addo’s family and the owner of GCGP, accounted for the country going to cough up the colossal amount.

The Herald’s findings are that the Akufo-Addo family, has a beef with one Damian Duncan, who is also the country representative for the international commodity company Trafigura, and this has led to the decision to terminate the Emergency Power Agreement with GCGP Limited.

The ruling family, also feels Damian Duncan, has been too close to the siblings of ex-President John Dramani Mahama, businessman Ibrahim Mahama and Inusah Mahama, hence might be fronting for them, The Herald gathered.

Interestingly, Damian is also mentioned as the brain behind Puma Energy, a petroleum retail company in Ghana with filling stations across the country meaning the man is well connected.

Former Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko on February 13, 2018, signed a letter terminating the agreement between Ghana and the GCGP and gave reasons, including non-performance.

He has since sought to hide, arguing he did not terminate the deal on his own volition, but did so on the directive of President Akufo-Addo’s cabinet.

He insists, he cannot be blamed for the cancellation of the agreement which has occasioned the judgment debt which include $134 million judgment debt, plus a US$30 million interest payment obligation.

He is, however, yet to provide the cabinet document recommending the termination. The Presidency is also yet to speak about the judgment debt.

But deeply buried in the family hostility are reports of a turf war between Damian Duncan, a nephew of President Nana Akufo-Addo, with the President’s powerful younger brother, Edward ”Bumpty” Akufo-Addo, who has been very active in the energy sector with Glencore Ghana and a couple of Russian multinational energy companies, including Lukoil, Gazprom and Rosneft Oil Company.

Also somewhere in these claims is the name of one Hans Djaba, a brother of Otiko Djaba, former Minister of Women and Gender protection and onetime Women Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Damian, The Herald picked up is son of the distooled Queenmother of the Bekai Stool Akwamufie, Nana Asaa Safoa II, known in private life as Mrs. Adelaide Duncan Olabaju.

Mrs. Adelaide Duncan Olabaju, herself, had several times blamed a biological sister of President Akufo-Addo, Madam Marigold Akufo-Addo, over events in relation to Akwamu Chieftaincy matters and Akwamufie leading to her distoolment.

Madam Marigold has since denied ever initiating any proceedings, to destool any person in Akwamufie and making attempts to cause confusion, mayhem, and bloodshed in the house. Sometime last year, explained that the whole Bekai family, consisting of the family in Abomosu/Kyebi, Kwahu, Akropong, Akwamufie, Anum, and Anlo, have performed the required traditional custom to destool the Queen mother of the Bekai Stool Akwamufie.

In an interview with Oman FM after the judgment from the International Court of Arbitration, Boakye Agyarko had insisted that he had no power to do that when he was in office and therefore finds it surprising that he has been linked to the development.

The power agreement, signed in 2015, was among those reported to have been cancelled by the former Energy Minister, with the reason that they were not needed and were only going to further lead to the ballooning of Ghana’s debts in the energy sector.

Interestingly, The Herald’s investigation revealed that the Attorney-General did not have input in the decision taken.

Mr Agyarko, relied mainly on the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Commission which was under his supervision in taking the decision .

The deal was signed according to this paper findings under Dr. Kwabena Donkor, a former Minister for Power under President Mahama, who doubles as the current Member of Parliament for the Pru East constituency, in the Bono East Region.

GCGP Limited in a ruling secured in its favour from the International Court of Arbitration is to get $134 million and US$30 million in interests from the government of Ghana over the cancellation of the contract.

Boakye Agyarko, who was removed from his position in 2018, said on Oman FM on Tuesday [February 16, 2021] that he was in no way involved in the cancellation of the agreement and therefore cannot be held responsible for the judgement debt.

“I just realized that they had filed for arbitration on August 11, 2018. This was after I had left the ministry. I never knew they had gone for arbitration. I am told that the government presented itself at the arbitration. How would someone accuse me of cancelling the contract? I have not cancelled any contract, I don’t have the power nor the need or desire to cancel it. I am for what will help Ghana,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Energy Security (IES) has said the US$134 million judgment debt likely to hit the Government of Ghana is one that is damaging to the country’s reputation and finances.

Beatrice Annan who is a fellow at the IES told Citi Business News, “it means that the country will have to use taxpayers’ money in excess of US$134 million to pay the foreign entity, which is GPGC. It further means that, as a struggling economy as we are, the government will have to cough up another US$30 million to pay interest.”

“Beyond the financial damage that has been caused to the country, it also damages our reputation. So the international community will begin to look at Ghana with another eye and for us, we think that it is not a good brand to build as a nation,” she bemoaned.

A letter dated February 13, 2018, showed that the Attorney-General at the time Gloria Akuffo, did not have input in the decision taken mainly between the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Commission.

A portion of Agyarko’s letter dated February 13, 2018 reads ”I refer to the emergency power agreement (Agreement) executed on June 3, 2015, between GPGC Limited (GPGC) and the Government of Ghana represented by the erstwhile Ministry of Power, for the provision of fast-track 107 MW (ISO) installed capacity of power including the provision of operation, maintenance and technical services, the construction of a transmission line named auto transformer and the financing and insurance of the plant for a period of (4) years (Project).

Interestingly, the same country aside the US$164 million from GCGP, is also facing a US$55 million judgment debt over the termination of Accra Intelligent Traffic Management contract for the management of the Beijing Everyway Traffic and Lighting Technology Company Limited to drag Ghana to the London court of international arbitration.

This also comes, while Ghana Community Network System (GCNet) is also preparing to file a US$100 million lawsuit against the government of Ghana over the termination of its operation as a destination inspection company and handing the same over to UNIPASS.

If the US$155 million – GCTNET and Beijing Everyway, is successful, it will mean Ghana is paying US$319 million in judgment debt alone.

Mr Agyarko’s letter entitled ‘ ”re: emergency power purchase agreement between the government of Ghana and GPGC limited termination notice”, addressed to the managing director of GPGC Limited at Puma Energy, 7th Floor Airport Square Building adjacent Holiday Inn, Accra.

He did not copy the Attorney General, but Deputy Ministers at the Energy Ministry, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam and William Owuraku Aidoo.

Also copied is Chief Director of the Energy Ministry at the time. Interestingly, the letter did not mention a cabinet decision as the reasons for the termination of the agreement and the day on which the decision was taken.

Mr Boakye, had stated that ”as you well know, this Agreement was executed during the power crisis as an Emergency Power Project. The term of the Agreement commences from the Signature Date until forty-eight (48) days after Full Commercial Operation Date”.

The then Minister of Energy noted that ”in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Agreement, the Agreement should have become effective on the 3rd August 2015 except the parties mutually extended the period for the fulfillment of the conditions Precedent to the effectiveness of the Agreement”.

He explained that ”following a review of the agreement Project, we note, the Parties have not mutually extended the period for the fulfillment of the Conditions Precedent”.

”We also note that, to date, GPGP has not reached financial close nor achieved Full Commercial Operation Date primarily because some of the pre-conditions (Conditions Subsequent) for the achievement of financial close and full commercial Operation Date have not been fulfilled, under the Agreement, Conditions Subsequent are to be fulfilled (30) days after the Effective Date”.

He cited Section 11 of the Energy Commission Act 1997, (Act 541) saying it ”also provides that “Except as expressly exempted under this Act, a person shall not, unless authorized to do so by a license granted under this Act engage in the business or commercial activity for (a) the transmission, whole sole supply, distribution or sale of electricity or natural gas”.

”The Ministry has been informed by the Energy Commission that GPGC has still not obtained a licence from the Commission to engage in the business or commercial activity for the sale of electricity. GPGC therefore has no capacity to execute the EPA. Accordingly, the EPA is null and void for want of capacity”.

”Similarly, although it is a requirement to obtain Siting and Construction Permits from the Commission prior to construction and installation of a plant for the production and supply of energy, GPGC has commenced construction on the site without requisite Siting and Construction Permit. Accordingly, GPGC’s construction activities are illegal”.

”In view of the above, the Government of Ghana has taken a decision to terminate the Agreement effective the date of this letter due to GPGC’s breach of obligations under the Agreement”, he added.

It concluded that ”Kindly take note of Section 4(g) of the Agreement which provides that, “GoG may terminate this Agreement with immediate effect, by given written notice to GPGC if any Condition Subsequent has not been satisfied by GPGC or waived by GoG by the date falling thirty (30) days after the Effective Date (as such date may be extended by the mutual agreement of the Parties) provided that such non-fulfillment of the Conditions Subsequent by GPGC must be wholly attributable to the action or inaction of GPGC, and , if , on the date of termination any Condition Subsequent has not been satisfied by GPGC as a result for reasons attributable to GPGC, GPGC shall pay GoG the early termination Payment and other reasonable costs incurred by GoG within ninety (90) days of the issued, by GoG, of a termination notice”.

More to come!

 

Source: The Herald

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