NDC Member of Parliament for Asunafo South, Eric Opoku has urged the NPP majority members in parliament to desist from setting a precedent that will allow every majority side of the house to use its powers and size to abrogate contracts entered into by former governments, even though approved by parliament.
He is of firm belief that such actions, if not checked, could lead to a situation where parliament will be noted for approving and terminating agreements and contracts, a development that will go a long way to undermine the usefulness of parliament as an institution.
“If such things are entertained then the usefulness of parliament will not be seen, and what will then happen is that, if any contract or agreement comes before parliament, the house can just accept it and later come back to terminate whenever the executive sees fit. So whatever the executive says, whether right or wrong so far as the government has the majority in parliament it then gets its way of doing things they like and this I say it’s wrong ,” he contended.
The former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister’s comment comes following the NDC minority members of parliament staged walkout from the floor of parliament to protest against the Speaker’s decision to forward the motion to withdraw the 2015 AMERI deal to the House’s Energy Committee.
According to him, the minority is not against the government investigating the AMERI deal that was brought to parliament by the former NDC government and duly approved by parliament, but the process and tactics at which the NPP government is using to, at all cost find a way to terminate the deal, is the problem.
He then described the AMERI deal entered into by the former Mahama administration as a valid deal, which cannot be terminated easily by parliament, but rather a law court, and explained that under contract law the world over a contract can be terminated when fraud is detected.
“To me, it seems the NPP government has not finished doing its investigations on the AMERI deal since it is still chasing former government appointees for documents of the said deal. What we are saying is that if the government after concluding its investigations on the deal and realised that some level of fraud has gone on in the deal and come out to inform the whole nation about the need to abrogate the contract that the previous government has signed with AMERI, then Ghanaians, including parliament, will come to understand. If the government has found fraud in the AMERI contract the best place to deal with it is the law court and not parliament,” he further maintained.
The Mahama administration in 2015 agreed to rent the 300MW of emergency power from AMERI at the peak of the country’s power crisis. As part of the deal, AMERI was to build the power plants and operate them for five years before transferring it to the government. The cost of the deal was $510million and received parliamentary approval on 20th March, 2015.
The approval of the deal was met with several oppositions but eventually received endorsement by the legislative body.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government after assuming office said it suspected that AMERI had defrauded the country by some $150 million in the power deal the company had with the then government.