The Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor has reiterated that he promised to solve load shedding and not localized power outages and therefore would not allow the word “dumsor” to be forced down his throat.
He said there was a clear distinction between load shedding and localized outages and that the former cannot be translated in vernacular as “dumsor.”
The Minister who was speaking at a meeting with members of the pressure group OccupyGhana on Thursday was not happy with the use of the word “dumsor” by a leading member of OccupyGhana, Mr Sydney Casely Hayford and threatened to break up the meeting if the word was not withdrawn.
Mr Casely Hayford had suggested that Ghana had been issuing sovereign bonds and that it could have been cheaper to raise a special bond called “Dumsor Bond” for an outright purchase of gas power plants instead of going into a deal with AMERI Energy, but Dr Donkor took offence at the use of the word “dumsor”.
“No I chose not to call it…I chose not, can you please, we are communicating in English, excuse me I want to be very exact…I won’t let this to be pushed down my throat,” the Minister said.
He said he had challenged the media to give him the vernacular for “load shedding”.
From then on the meeting degenerated into a war of words as Dr Donkor insisted the current power situation cannot be referred to as “dumsor.”
Asked why Ghana did not go directly to GE for the purchase of the plants and chose to go through a middleman, Dr Donkor said there was no money for an outright purchase.
He revealed that a consortium including General Electronics (GE) made an offer earlier to supply Ghana with gas power plants under the GE 1000 project and according to him, they were TM 25s that were going to be deployed fast track on rental basis for Ghana.
“However, when we looked at the cost on rental, we realized the price was not competitive.”
He said an outright purchase would have rather come cheaper but Ghana did not have the money.
“In any case at the appropriate time we will also provide some further evidence on this,” the Minister said.
OccupyGhana had raised queries with the AMERI deal and insisted that despite the responses in a press statement by the Power Ministry, there appeared to be more questions that begged for answers.
Acting as the one who executed the Agreement and obtained parliamentary approval for it, Dr Donkor upon receipt of a letter from the pressure group called for the meeting.
Present at the meeting was the Minister and his deputy, Mr John Jinapor, directors from the Ministry and engineers from GRIDCo and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
However at the end of the meeting, OccupyGhana said they were disappointed since they did not get the full details as had been requested.
The OccupyGhana team led by Messrs Sydney Casely Hayford, George Andah, Nana Sarpong and Egbert Faibille accused Dr Donkor of not being open enough.
For instance, at the meeting, Dr Donkor had some documents from which he was reading and quoting figures from, when OccupyGhana made a request for copies, it was denied.
They did not get answers on the financial details of the contract, the number and which contractors were considered before settling on E&P and where in the contract that states that ownership of the plant would transfer to Ghana after five years.
Dr Donkor provided answers for some of the issues raised but deferred answers for specific queries to a later date.
The Minister rather referred the group to Parliament, explaining they could obtain the Annexure, particularly Annex G, which reportedly contained the financial details of the transaction from the Clerk of Parliament.
He also asked the group to arrange a meeting later on with the Ministry’s legal counsel, who was present at the meeting for her to point to them where exactly in the contract that talked about the ownership transfer.
Last week a Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang (VG) published an article that suggested that Ghana’s $510 million deal with the AMERI Group LLC for the supply of gas plants towards solving the protracted energy crisis was shrouded with mystery.
The newspaper’s publication suggested that Ghana could have purchased the gas plants at about $220 million with an outright purchase and wondered why the country offered to pay $290 million more than the standard price on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) agreement.
Listen to the interaction with the Minister here