General News of Saturday, 7 September 2019
Former Volta River Authority (VRA) CEO and retired engineer, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, is calling for the abrogation of Power Distribution Service (PDS) Concessionaire agreement after two separate investigations concluded there was no valid guarantee for the deal.
The reports of a consultant engaged by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) and a government committee chaired by Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, both concluded the guarantee cannot be relied on.
According to Dr Wereko-Brobby, there is no time to point out fingers and/or engage in a blame game, when it is clear PDS does not have the capacity to operate the assets of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
“I don’t see why a foreign power should tell us the only way we can turn our assets around is to give it to somebody to make money out of it for 30 years. ECG needs better management and that is the solution we must take now,” he said Saturday on Newsfile on the JoyNews channel on Multi TV.
He told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of the show, that ECG’s technical partner, Meralco, is doing reasonably well in beginning to turn the state-owned company around.
He explained, the country needs to explore the idea of getting into a performance contract with Meralco and getting rid of all other privately-owned companies including PDS, who do not have the means to get ECG working.
He stated the technical agreement with Meralco should outline proper steps that would be taken to get ECG working again.
“If Meralco has got what it takes to do the technical work, I think we can sign the technical agreement with them, put down key performance indicator which they have been asked to meet and if they do, pay them for the work that they have done,” he added.
Option to list on the stock exchange
However, Dr Wereko-Brobby said, “if we decide that ECG must be sold, let’s put it on the stock market and let Ghanaians get a fair share of it.”
Legal Practitioner, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, who was also on the show agreed if PDS has no technical and financial competence to give Ghana value for money services, then government should proceed to abrogate the contract.
“What we need to do is once we have established that there is a fundamental breach, let us proceed along those lines. FTI has given us a conclusion and a recommendation on the basis of, in my view, a rebuttable assumption. It is about time we moved on,” he added.
The government on July 30 announced the suspension of the contract with PDS, barely six months after the company took over from ECG.
The decision, according to Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, “…follows the detection of fundamental and material breaches of PDS obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees) for the transaction which has been discovered upon further diligence. The Demand Guarantees were key prerequisites for the lease of assets on 1st March 2019 to secure the assets that were transferred to the concessionaire.”
Subsequently, MiDA hired the services of an independent investigator, FIT Consulting, on August 16, to conduct forensic audit over the alleged fraudulent guarantee documents submitted.