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Ameri paying for Dubai trip was sensible under the circumstances – AG

The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, believes the Philip Addison-led committee investigating the AMERI deal did not compromise itself by allowing the company it was investigating to fund its trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Madam Akuffo said embarking on the AMERI-paid trip to Dubai was “a sensible position to take,” given the circumstances.

According to the Attorney General, the meetings forming part of the investigation into the deal were to take place in Accra.

Gloria Akuffo

Gloria Akuffo

But one of the representatives of AMERI indicated his or her unavailability, thus it became necessary that the meeting should be moved to Dubai.

The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, however, put his foot down and said any possible trip by the 17-member committee was not going to be done on Ghana’s purse.

She, however, stressed that, she only spoke with knowledge of the reasoning for the moving of the meeting from Accra to Dubai.

The Attorney General recounted that “the position taken by the Minister was that, we are not going to bear the cost. We are not going to throw good money after bad. We have agreed that we hold the meeting here, we are trying to cut back on our losses and we would not be incurring additional debt to relocate to that place.”

“So the other party [Ameri] said we are prepared to bear the cost. As to whether they were feted or given per diem, I do not know. I do not have anything on my desk. I do not know about these extra things being spoken about.”

Nothing nefarious at play

The Minority in Parliament has ridden on the detail of the AMERI-funded trip to Dubai to allege malfeasance on the part of the Philip Addison-led committee,by saying that it will be petitioning the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

But Madam Akuffo said, in her view, there was no ill-intent on the part of the committee or AMERI.

“My understanding was that, it was a matter of engaging with a view of coming to some amicable resolution of the observations the committee had made in studying documents. It is not as though you have a policeman trying to catch a robber then the robber suddenly feeds him. I do not see it as that,” she explained.

Reason for the committee

The 17-member committee was constituted on grounds of a $150 million anomaly in the AMERI deal, as well other financial, technical and legal issues, and recommended that AMERI be made to re-negotiate the deal or be rejected by Government on grounds of fraud.

Ghana was made to pay $150 million extra in commission to Africa & Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) Group LLC for the construction of a power plant.

The committee maintains that AMERI in its agreement with government dated February 10th, 2015, charged Ghana significantly higher than what it was charged by the Turkish registered company, PPR, which financed and executed the project.

The Turkish firm pegged the total cost of the project, which is to span over a 5-year period at a maximum of 360 million dollars.

However, the Build Operate Own Transfer (BOOT) agreement signed between government and AMERI was pegged at a minimum of 510 million dollars.

Credit: Citi FM

 

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