President Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party government must, henceforth, be careful with the way they try to sign, terminate, renegotiate or review agreements, particularly in the energy sector.
Very embarrassing developments in his two and half-year administration suggest that energy-politics in Ghana could be very slippery.
Since winning power in December 2016, one of the most embarrassing moments the president had to go through was when the then Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, sought to review the AMERI deal.
Following an ensuing controversy, President Akufo-Addo decided to relieve Mr. Agyarko off his duty as minister.
The President was compelled to fire Mr. Agyarko because he felt he had misled him.
That was because, contrary to NPP campaign promises, the renegotiated deal rather turned out to be worse than the original one negotiated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Insiders said the former minister made the president look bad, by making him grant an executive approval to something he had not personally seen.
The situation was so bad the opposition insisted the President used Agyarko as a scapegoat to cover a bigger disgrace. But that was ‘yesterday’.
Had Akufo Addo not taken the action he took, he would look weak. He had demonstrated that there were no untouchables in his government.
Today, the burning issue is that government had suspended its four-month-old deal with Power Distribution Service (PDS) over fraudulent payment guarantees.
What was worse, it took a Qatari company to alert government of the fraudulent documents tendered in by PDS to win the bid.
Like AMERI, PDS could also lead to the rolling of heads at the top, as sources say out of the 42 conditions precedent that PDS was expected to have satisfied before being given the green light, the company met only 19 of them, and that ‘certain people’ in government ‘nicodemously’ converted the remaining 23 conditions precedent into what they called ‘conditions subsequent’.
Currently, there is so much hue and cry that the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is calling for the interdiction of the leadership of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).
Not only that, a former NPP Member of Parliament for Obuasi East, Edward Enin, has evealed that the government ignored his warnings not to sign the concession agreement. According to him, PDS was, from the beginning, not clean.
Even MP for Asokwa, K.T. Hammond (also from the NPP) is fuming that somebody must be arrested and prosecuted.
As at yesterday, news was that a certain gentleman, who signed the agreement, had been suspended.
THE NEW PUBLISHER thinks suspension is not punitive enough. In the view of the paper, once government had mustered the courage to suspend the contract, it should have that same courage to name those behind the contract and let them face the law.
Finally, the paper will like to caution Ken Ofori Atta about his mission to cancel the ‘take or pay deal’, lest that one too comes with its own embarrassments and ramifications.
This is just a caution. Twice bitten, trice shy.