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Minority Move Leads to MiDA’s forensic audit of PDS deal – US Embassy

Source: citinewsroom.com

The US government is awaiting an independent forensic audit of the Power Distribution Services (PDS) concession deal authorised by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) Board of Directors before it makes a decision on the matter.

According to the US Embassy in Ghana, the “U.S. Government strongly supports the decision” which it says is needed before any action is taken on the alleged fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligations to Ghana.

“Only then can all relevant parties make a transparent and evidence-based decision that is in the best interest of the citizens of Ghana,” the Embassy said in response to queries by Citi News.

The queries, among others, concerned the role of the embassy and the Millennium Challenge Compact in possibly resolving the matter, potential actions if the government cancelled the deal and thoughts on alleged fraud in the deal.

The Embassy also assured that the US favoured a “transparent, well-run transaction that meets international standards for private sector participation, investment, and operations.”

“The U.S. Government expects that MiDA, PDS, and the Government of Ghana will continue to work together to implement the bold solutions and partnership of the MCC compact that have been fostered to enhance the reliability of the country’s power network and improve the lives of millions of Ghanaians.”

PDS took over from the ECG in February 2019 after winning a bid to run the power distribution in Ghana as part of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) compact which was signed in 2014.

The deal saw the 20-year concession of the Electric Company of Ghana Ltd (ECG) to PDS.

It was a $498 million venture geared towards the transformation of the country’s energy sector through private sector participation.

The first tranche of $308.2 million was released in 2016 and the country is awaiting the second tranche of $190 million pending certain targets.

The ECG has since assumed the responsibility of running power distribution in Ghana’s southern zone temporarily.

But it has allowed PDS to carry on with all activities related to electricity retail sale.

Indications are that the government is also engaged in a probe of its own which it hopes to conclude at the end of August.

Government officials have noted possible fraud in the deal with reports of a forged document being involved in the deal.

The probe included a trip to Qatar where a company thought to have guaranteed for PDS denied knowledge of any documentation.

But the Minority in Parliament says the government cannot be trusted in its handling of the PDS suspension.

It said the government is already ‘confused’ on how to decisively handle the matter.

The Minority petitioned the US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, demanding full-scale investigations by the US government into the suspension.

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