PDS crises: MiDA forged PURC, Energy Commission letterheads to secure deal
The Coalition of Stakeholders on Electricity Contracts and Arrangements has added its voice to accusations of fraud against the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) in the PDS/ECG concession agreement.
At a public stakeholders forum in Accra, Wednesday, Richard Nyamah, the forum’s convener, said MiDA, the institution in charge of the Millennium Challenge Compact II in Ghana and is supposed to supervise the ECG concession agreement that ended up with PDS winning had used fraudulent means to get stakeholders to do its bidding.
The government of Ghana made a shocking announcement last week, declaring it had suspended a concessionaire agreement with a consortium called Power Distribution Service (PDS) for thirty days.
The PDS had been responsible for managing the retail, and distribution business of the electricity company of Ghana since March this year.
The government cited material breaches in securing insurance guarantee as the basis for the suspension of the deal.
The Coalition of Stakeholders on Electricity Contracts and Arrangements says MiDA must be blamed for the current crisis as it perpetuated fraud in the process that handed PDS the ECG concession.
In its quest to get its bidding done, Mr. Nyamah told the forum that “MiDA wrote letters purporting to come from stakeholders in the energy sector such as the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission and Energy Commission to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to have its concent in selecting a concessionaire for the ECG.
This misrepresentation was to give the impression to the IFC, the international consultants of MiDA, that the Energy Commission and the PURC have agreed to grant licence and adjust tariffs respectively should a concessionaire be found to hold assets of and distribute power from ECG.
The Energy Commission and the PURC whose letterheads and logos were forged by MiDA found out and protested.
This protest, according to the group, led to MiDA writing letters to apologise to the two agencies for usurping their powers.
COSECA which was launched yesterday at the forum, said its antecedent, Coalition Against the ECG Concession, sued MiDA as far back as September 2016 when the alleged fraud came to its attention.
The group was however thrown out of court because the aggrieved state agencies ( PURC and ECG) had resolved their differences with MiDA. The court said it should be the aggrieved agencies that should sue. According to the court, the group had no locus to sue on their behalf. COSECA which was not satisfied with the decision of the court, petition the USA government through its embassy in Ghana to evoke its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act against the IFC and its local partners.
The IFC, the group said, was acting in concert with its local partners to defraud Ghana. For instance, they accused the IFC of conflict of interest. According to them, it had connections with some of the companies that had expressed interest to be part of the concession bid.
This is not the first time the reputation of MiDA has been impugned.
Earlier, the boss of the African Centre for Energy Policy, Benjamin Boakye told Joy FM that MiDA failed to select a company with the needed credibility to raise money to manage electricity in the country.
“If we could not raise bank guarantees how can we raise capital investment,” Benjamin Boakye questioned on the Super Morning Show, Friday.
On his part, the Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), questioned the process that gave 51% majority shares of Power Distribution Service to Ghanaians.
Dr. Steve Manteaw said Santa Baron Ventures Ghana, TG Energy Solution Ghana, GTS Engineering Ghana Limited and TBK Ghana Limited were not evaluated before being picked to hold majority shares in PDS.
Speaking Tuesday, on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Dr. Steve Manteaw said the crisis PDS is currently battling with, only goes to show that the majority shareholders lack the capacity to manage an investment as huge as the Electricity Company of Ghana.
COSECA is calling on the government to enhance ongoing investigations into dealings of PDS to include MiDA.
They want investigations to confirm or deny allegations that MiDA failed to ensure that PDS, the body that won the concession, made the required deposits of $12.2m as was part the terms of the contract.
They also want to know “at what point this paid and into what account?
They also asked whether there is any letter from Al Koot denying all the fraud allegations which have so far been raised against PDS insurance for the ECG concession.
Finally, they want to know if there is any bond from Donewell as insurance for the PDS deal.
Following the foregoing, the convenor of COSECA called for the Director of MiDA, Martin Eson-Benjamin to proceed on leave as his continual stay in office as investigations are ongoing may temper with critical evidence.