Amewu accepts responsibility for PDS scandal

The Railway Development Minister-designate, John Awewu, has taken responsibility for the failed Power Distribution Services (PDS) deal that caused the nation to lose huge sums of money.

Taking his turn at Parliament’s Appointment Committee, the former Minister for Energy said the decision was not entirely his but accepts his role.

“As the sector minister at the time, I’m responsible for the asset and liability of the ministry and so, yes, even though it was a cabinet decision, I take responsibility for it,” the Hohoe legislator said on Wednesday.

The PDS scandal

The concession agreement with PDS was terminated on the instruction of President Nana Akufo-Addo in October 2019.

The termination brought to an end, PDS’ short-lived control of the country’s electricity supply.

The company was engaged in March 2019 but was suspended on July 30. Since its suspension, there had been a corporate governance tussle among its shareholders.

A Ghanaian local consortium held 51 per cent of the shares while the remaining 49 per cent shares are for two foreign companies – Manila Electric Company Limited (Meralco), a Filipino company with 30 per cent shares and Aenergia, an Angolan company with 19 per cent.

Foreign player, Meralco offloaded its shares to Meridian Power Ventures Ltd, the US-backed Millenium Development Authority (MiDA) confirmed.

PDS was suspended after the government said it suspected the agreement was tainted with fraud.

The transaction advisor, MiDA, set up an investigative body to probe the allegations and cleared PDS of fraud.

Despite the clearance in August, PDS remained suspended and the government has now taken a decision to cancel the agreement, sources have maintained.

Ghana has lost a $190 million grant by its US partners as part of a power concession agreement.

A statement from the US embassy said the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)  confirmed that the money was no longer available after Ghana decided to terminate the agreement with PDS.

“Based upon the conclusions of the independent forensic investigation, the U.S. position is that the transfer of operations, maintenance, and management of the Southern Distribution Network to the private concessionaire on March 1, 2019, was valid and therefore the termination is unwarranted,” the US government said.

Minority’s petition

The Minority in Parliament had petitioned the US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, demanding formal investigations by the American government into the PDS concession scandal

The petition signed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu was personally hand-delivered at the US Embassy in Accra by the Honourable Ranking Member on Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

The Minority sought to trigger investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the US.

Until its suspension, PDS was responsible for managing the retail and distribution business of the electricity company of Ghana.

PDS became the first private company to manage the affairs of ECG after Ghana won the Power Compact II expected to inject some $900 million into power distribution.

ECG’s struggle to make a profit over many years prompted the need for a private investor for the sector.

 

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