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It will cost us more to abrogate AMERI deal – Ace Ankomah warns

Legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah, has warned the country against contemplating abrogating the purchase contract with AMERI Group.

Any attempt to annul the deal will have dire financial consequences for the country, he said.

Given what he knows about how such deals work, the lawyer said, Ghana will end up spending more to abrogate than to keep the contract.

Ace Ankomah’s warning follows suggestions that government should cancel the contract which has seen AMERI ship 10 gas turbines to Ghana at a cost of $510 million instead of $220 million.

The Ministry of Power on Monday denied publications suggesting that the AMERI power deal was signed with a dubious company and at an inflated cost of $510 million.

Power Minister, Kwabena Donkor described the publication by the Norwegian newspaper VG as “false, misleading and a gross misrepresentation of the facts”.

The publication, which has been widely circulated in the Ghanaian media, among other things reports that one Umar Farooq Zahoor, a top official at AMERI is a wanted fraudster.

Farooq Zahoor according to VG is on the wanted list of Norwegian police and Interpol for his lead roles in various scams in Norway and other countries.

Ace Ankomah speaking on the issue in an interview on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Tuesday said Ghana negotiated the deal from a weak position.

The country, he noted, is currently in this position because “you are negotiating from a weak position; you are in no position to call any shots.”

“This agreement is tight. Ghanaians are making noise that we should abrogate it. Sorry you can’t. If you do you are going to pay a whole lot of money so much that you will be amazed.

If we think this agreement is not in our interest, hold our political leaders for it,” the legal practitioner explained.

With many pointing accusing fingers at Parliament for failing to do due diligence before approving the deal, Ace Ankomah said a closer scrutiny could have averted the mess the country finds itself in.

“For parliament certain things have become so routine that they often will just pass it through without taking the scales of their eyes to see exactly what is there. I think that a more closer scrutiny could have raised some of those questions…a closer scrutiny could have answered some of those questions.”

The legal practitioner noted that parliament’s attitude towards this deal “sounds very awful. It stinks for you to turn around to tell us that we did not have enough time to look over the document…” considering the fact that members of parliament were voted to protect the interest of Ghanaians and the public purse.

He was of the view that, the Power Minister’s attempt to explain the fiasco “raise even more questions for himself and parliament.”

He further noted that arguments that the government won’t be making any payment for the equipment but will assume eventual ownership of the equipment after five years of production and sale of power to the VRA “doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. It is impossible.”

“The cost of the equipment is built into the lease payment that is why at the end of the term you assume ownership,” he added.

Ace Ankomah believes that the Power Minister owes Ghanaians a lot of explanations when it comes to the details and additional works – including civil works, installation, shipment etc. – of the agreement.

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