K T Hammond initiates steps to revoke parliamentary approval of AMERI power deal

By Kwabena Owusu-Ampratwum

The Majority in parliament has initiated processes to revoke parliamentary approval of the controversial Ameri power deal on the basis the power provider misled the house into approving the deal.

NPP MP for Adansi Asokwa K T Hammond who has been fronting the revocation of the deal for months now presented to the energy committee of parliament what he believes to be evidence that proves Ameri had committed blatant fraud, misrepresented and swindled the government to the tune of 150 million dollars.

The Ameri Power deal has been a subject of controversy right after its approval when the then opposition NPP claimed it had been bloated to the tune of 150 million dollars.

Signed on 10th February 2015, the Ameri deal is a build own operate and transfer (BOOT) agreement between the government of Ghana and the African and Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) Group.

Ameri in the peak of the debilitating power crisis in Ghana at the time, was to provide a 205MW fast-track power generation solution with gas turbines.

Mr Hammond, who initially supported the deal and approved it now says Ameri has breached some terms of the contract.

His submission to the committee said under the contract, Ameri was allowed to assign their obligations to any of their affiliates, but any such assignment required the prior written consent of the government of Ghana. The provision makes it clear that if such an assignment was permitted by the government, it would not be relieved of any of its obligations under the agreement.

It continued that implicit in this part of the agreement is a clause that if Ameri assigns any part of its obligations to a third party without the approval of the government of Ghana, the latter would be relieved of any or all of its obligations under the agreement.

Mr K T Hammond stressed the basis of his action is that Ameri power had breached this clause and gone ahead to assigned other entities without the written consent of the government.

He said Ameri Group after the approval of the contract assigned its rights, interest and obligations to an affiliate called Ameri Energy Power Equipment Trading as was stipulated in the deferred payment agreement dated 17th July 2015. This was not in breach of the agreement because under the deal, Ameri Energy Power Equipment Trading was the sole purpose vehicle set up to execute the project.

He continued Ameri Energy Power Equipment Trading, however, did not do the work themselves, but rather assigned a different entity, Total Power Sanayi, a Turkish registered company referred to as PPR to execute the entire project.

The Adansi Asokwa MP said the involvement of the PPR did not receive prior written consent from government and therefore was in breach of the contract agreement.

K T Hammond continued that Ameri also did not raise financial resources or had any intention to do so for the project as represented to parliament. 

Under Ameri's contract with Total power Sanayi, the Turkish company was paid a fixed amount of 360 million dollars for the entire project, including the sourcing of funds. An amount which is 150million less than the 510million dollars Ameri had billed government for the project.

Mr Hammond believes Ghana has been shortchanged in the transaction because for instance, the cost of the power to be produced by Ameri was pegged at 14.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, with the consideration that Ameri will raise the capital on its own and in the process, incur additional cost from the borrowing of the funds.

He therefore wants parliament to revoke its approval of the deal because in his opinion, the contract terms have been breached by the Ameri Group.