U.S Embassy justifies its insistence on Ghana keeping PDS deal

Source Myjoyonline

The US Embassy has explained why it insisted on Ghana keeping the Power Distribution Service (PDS) deal despite government’s claim that the consortium lacked a valid demand guarantee.

Spokesperson at the Embassy Naomi Mattos said, the first statement issued by the American government established that Meralco be maintained in the deal was the outcome of its series of meetings with Ghana government officials.

“We believe that the concession was valid and that the transfer was valid on March 1st 2019…the independent forensic audit found that that transfer was valid so we stuck with that take on the matter.

”The independent forensic audit stated that the concession was valid so we chose to go with what the independent audit, we determined that the independent audit said and that we wanted to move forward with this very important concession,” she said.

The concession agreement with PDS was been terminated on the instruction of President Nana Akufo Addo last week.

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

The company was engaged in March but since its suspension on July 30, PDS had been embroiled in a corporate governance tussle among the shareholders.

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

Foreign player, Meralco offloaded its shares to Meridian Power Ventures Ltd, a letter to a key transaction advisor, 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 into the allegations and cleared PDS of fraud.

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

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

A statement from the US embassy said the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has confirmed that the money is no longer available after Ghana decided to terminate the concession 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 says.

But the Spokesperson at the Embassy Naomi Mattos told JoyNews the independent forensic audit stated that the transfer was valid as of March 1, this year.

She said the US government “will now concentrate on how the $308 million under the current arrangement will be expended to improve the country’s energy sector.”

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