Government’s failure to consider all factors caused $170m judgment debt – Jinapor

A former Deputy Minister of Power, John Jinapor, has accused government of failing to consider all factors before proceeding to terminate a power agreement with GPGC.

Government is to cough an amount of $170 million to the company. This was after an arbitrator had found that government’s basis for terminating the power agreement is not a true reflection of the state of affairs.

Ghana in 2015 entered into a power agreement with GPGC to have the company relocate its power plant from Italy to Ghana.

The Volta River Authority is said to have agreed to make available its land located at Kpone to the company. Following a change of government in January 2017, the Volta River Authority informed GPGC that it had decided not to proceed with the leasing of the land at Kpone to the company.

In April 2017, a Ministry of Energy Committee asked that government considers termination of the agreement at an estimated cost of $18 million rather than the payment of an excess capacity charge of $24.9 million per annum over the contract period of 4 years.

A subsequent termination of the agreement resulted in government being dragged to an Arbitrator. It ruled against government saying the basis for its termination was not reflective of the state of affairs.

Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame has since indicated his intention to task the Police Criminal Investigations Department to probe circumstances leading to government entering the agreement in 2015.

He insists the NDC administration had information that indicated that the agreement was not in the interest of the nation.

But former Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor disagrees with the AG’s position.

Speaking on the JoyFM’s Super Morning Show, he argued that the said information the AG referred to, equally suggested negotiations with GPGC rather than termination.

“Why did you ask the Minister to terminate and to say that we are not paying a penny because if you read the Minister’s termination letter, it is clear that government of Ghana was not to pay a penny? And yet you as Attorney General, you as Godfred Dame, read the agreement, knew that there was liability yet went to the court to defend the state.

“The issue is that when the committee report came to you, did you consider all other factors before asking the Minister to terminate? So you based your decision on only the committee report and decided that it should be terminated and yet even the committee’s recommendation that negotiate and pay 18 million, you did not do that.”

On his part, Mr. Dame who was also on the show disagreed.

He insisted that the AG’s opinion stemmed from the technical committee’s report.

“The Attorney General is not a technical person when it comes to energy matters. So I am saying that her legal view was sought and her legal view was expressed on the matter. Her legal view was founded on the technical report issued by the committee set up in John Jinapor’s time”.

Energy Analyst, Ben Boakye who joined the discussion said the AG’s view is baffling. He explained that as far as he is concerned, the AG (then Gloria Akuffo) was not asked to just reproduce the said special committee report but rather to proffer a legal opinion on whether what the committee had suggested made sense to ensure that the state saves money.

“That for me was clear on what the role of the Attorney General should have been and not just to consume the recommendations of the committee.”