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US government backs independent probe into PDS deal

US government backs independent probe into PDS deal

The US government says it backs decision by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to hire an independent investigator, to conduct forensic audit over the alleged fraudulent guarantee documents submitted by Public Distribution Services (PDS).

This was contained in an email response to a set of questions sent by JoyBusiness.

The US government in the email maintained that, the independent investigator would conduct a forensic audit of the claimed material breaches in order to fully establish the facts of the matter.

It added that “Only then can all relevant parties make a transparent and evidence-based decision that is in the best interest of the citizens of Ghana”.

It also maintained that, the concession does not shift the ownership of ECG’s distribution network to PDS or any other entity adding that“ distribution network remains the property of the Government of Ghana, and under the financial structure of the concession, at all times, Ghanaian investors will hold a minimum of 51% of the ownership interests in PDS.”

Background

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Ghana Power Compact was signed in 2014 and is a 498 million investment in the transformation of the country’s energy sector through private sector participation and key policy and institutional reforms that will provide more reliable and affordable power to the Ghanaian people.

The MCC Ghana Power Compact is expected to benefit an estimated 9.7 million Ghanaians over the next 20 years.

On July 30, 2019, the government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Information, announced the suspension of the 20-year concession, citing alleged “material breaches” of its agreement with PDS.

The US government also argued that “We believe, and our partners in the Government of Ghana agree, that private sector participation is essential to restoring the financial health of Ghana’s energy sector”

“Settling” the PDS deal

The United States’ interest is in a transparent, well-run transaction that meets international standards for private sector participation, investment, and operations, it added in the email.

It also argued that it expects that MiDA, PDS, and the Government of Ghana to continue to work together to implement the bold solutions and partnership of the MCC compact that has been fostered to enhance the reliability of the country’s power network and improve the lives of millions of Ghanaians.

Minority’s petition

The Minority in Parliament has petitioned the US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, demanding formal investigations by the American government into the PDS concession scandal

The petition signed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu was personally hand-delivered at the US Embassy in Accra by the Honourable Ranking Member on Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

The Minority in a release Wednesday, sought to trigger investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the US.

Until its suspension, PDS was responsible for managing the retail and distribution business of the electricity company of Ghana since March this year.

The government suspended the concession agreement with the company, bringing back the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to be in full control of power distribution.

PDS became the first private company to manage the affairs of ECG after Ghana won the Power Compact II that will inject some $900 million into power distribution.

ECG’s struggle to make a profit over many years prompted the need for a private investor for the sector.

 

Source: Myjoyonline.com

 

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