A concerned citizen who is fighting against the privatization of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has petitioned the US Ambassador to investigate what he says are ‘unethical’ and ‘unlawful’ acts in the whole deal involving the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).
According to Richard Asante Yeboah, there is no transparency in the proposed Private Sector Participation (PSP) in ECG to be run by MiDA, a US government interest.
Copies of the petition, prepared on September 20, were also sent to US President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the US, the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, both the majority and the minority leaders in parliament, as well as the Attorney General.
There is furore over the proposed privatization of ECG, state-run utility company, with the workers kicking against its privatization.
Mr Asante Yeboah said he was sending the petition pursuant to Article 41 (g) of the 1992 Constitution, which requires citizens “to protect and preserve public property,” as well as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) which he said “prohibits unethical and unlawful business practices such as the case under review.
He said the “petition, though brief, is very serious and borders largely on official complaints of illegal/unlawful acts, and forgery/fraud in processes in the proposed concession for the management of, operation of, and investment in the electricity distribution business of the ECG.”
According to him, the Executive Secretary of the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) in a letter dated May 6, 2016 to the Chief Executive of MiDA, emphatically rejected a document titled, “Circulation of draft tariff methodology by MiDA/International Finance Corporation (IFC),” saying it had been authored and circulated in flagrant breach of the law of Ghana.
He said the PURC asked MiDA and the IFC to ‘take immediate steps to withdraw the said document in circulation as it contravened the PURC Act, 1997 (Act 538) which gives the commission the exclusive mandate.
The plaintiff said, “It is not for nothing that tariff methodology of the Government of Ghana decisions on the transaction structure of the concession arrangement of February 2016 lawfully requires that the commission be the entity to supply Tariff Guideline in accordance with Act 538 and that IFC consults and collaborates with PURC to provide the necessary methodology for inclusion in the transaction agreements.”
Mr Asante Yeboah said the transaction agreement had been carefully designed such that the collaboration and action taken by the parties “be conducted in a way that does not infringe upon the independence of the PURC.”
According to the petitioner, the Energy Commission, in a letter to MiDA, had denied that it authored a letter with the title, “Circulation of distribution of sale licence document” bearing the logo of the Energy Commission and had demanded that MiDA and IFC withdraw the said document.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this petition is against the MiDA and the IFC playing critical lead roles in the ongoing Private Sector Participation (PSP) in the ECG.
“I share the concerns of large sections of Ghanaians and in particular workers of the ECG, about the lack of transparency in the concession for the management of, operation of, and investment in the electricity distribution business of the ECG, and who seek a more viable and transparent process that safeguards the public interest.”
By William Yaw Owusu