Inquiry into PDS concession agreement breaches to take 30 days – Minister

Accra� Full scale inquiry into breaches of the concession agreement by Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited is expected to be completed within 30 days, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Information Minister, has announced.

This official investigation, he said, was being carried out by a team of insurance experts, officials from the Energy and Finance Ministries, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, attended by the Energy Minister, Mr. Peter Amewu, he said, the outcome of the inquiry was going to determine the government’s line of action.

It would help to establish the full facts about the nature of the breaches by the concessionaire.

The team would be travelling to Doha � Qatar on Tuesday, August 06, – a move to get to bottom of the matter.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said PDS officials and all the other interested parties were cooperating with the investigation.

Another team has also been tasked to continue engagement with the American Government, through its agency – Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) about the possible next steps and channels for sharing information.

This team is expected to travel to the United States (US) next week as part of the engagement with the US Government.

This, he said, was important because America was offering Ghana US$498 million under the Ghana Power Compact II, to improve power distribution across the country.

The government announced the suspension of the concession agreement with the power distribution company, after it detected that there was something not right.

“We reiterate that this breach was discovered by the due diligence of the Ghanaian authorities through ECG and with the support of state agencies.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the provision of the payment guarantee has always been a condition precedent and was never changed to a condition subsequent as being speculated by some persons”, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah added.

He said that the initial due diligence led by the transaction advisors did not find anything wrong in the transaction.

The second level checks led by the Ghana authorities yielded a response from Al-Koot, which confirmed that the demand guarantees were fraudulent.

Then came a third level check by the Ghana side that detected anomalies within Al-koot, triggering a fourth level check.

This last check involved sending an initial team from the Ghana Mission in Qatar to engage with Al-koot officials for further verification and the finding is now the subject of inquiry.

He reiterated the assurance to power consumers that suspension of the concession agreement with PDS would not affect electricity distribution and tariff payment.

The government on Tuesday, July 30, announced that it had suspended the concession agreement with PDS after detecting infractions of the demand guarantees.

It subsequently directed that ECG should take-over the distribution of electricity from PDS as it launched full scale investigation to ascertain the breaches in the concession agreement.

On March 1, this year, ECG handed-over its operational assets to Meralco Consortium/PDS to manage and the Consortium, which promised to invest US$580 million within the next five years into power distribution and services, to boost efficiency in the energy sector.

Source: Ghana News Agency