Minority members on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament are not going to be party to deliberations by the committee on an urgent motion filed by Majority MP for Adansi Asokwa, Kwabena Tahir Hammond, asking a rescission of the AMERI deal.
According to the Minority, the shocking motion which asks Parliament to recant its approval of the contract, almost two years after it had approved it, potentiates a very bad precedent that the Minority wishes not to tarnish itself with.
“We, the Minority Members of the Mines and Energy Committee, have decided upon careful consideration of the relevant facts, not to take part in the deliberations of the Committee in respect of the urgent motion filed by Hon. K.T Hammond requesting that the House rescinds the decision it gave in approving the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement between the Government of Ghana and Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group LLC (AMERI Energy) on grounds of gross misrepresentation.
“The Minority does not want to be part of any bad precedent as far as parliamentary practice is concerned,” a 20th September, 2017 statement issued in Accra said.
Signed by the Minority’s Spokesman on Mines and the MP for Damongo, Hon. Adam Mutawakilu, the statement pointed out that Parliament as an arm of Government conducts its business on the dictates of the standing orders as stipulated under Article 110 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.
It said therefore that any words, action or move taken by any Member of the House ought to be within the remit of the Constitution and the Standing Orders, noting that there is no part, section or rule of the Standing Orders that allows for a motion to be referred to a committee after it has been moved and seconded to, without any deliberations by the House.
“This cannot be found in the current Standing Orders or any Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana since Independence,” the statement said.
K.T. Hammond, a former Deputy Minister of Energy and MP for Adansi Asokwa, in July, shocked everybody when he filed an urgent motion in Parliament asking that government’s 2015 deal with AMERI to provide 300MW of power be rescinded.
The body language from the Majority side in Parliament has been supportive even though in filing the unprecedented motion, K.T. Hammond had done so without recourse whatsoever to his government’s Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, whom he is seen to be scheming to replace.
Most shocking of all is that in 2015, when Parliament approved the deal, the the NPP, then in the Minority had participated. The NPP would however turn round later, on the basis of the publication of a Norwegian newspaper, to claim that the deal had been inflated by some $150million.
According to the corruption rhetoric, the $510million Build Operate and Transfer deal which will revert the plants to Ghana after 5 years was inflated by $150million.
However, it has long been made clear that the $150million is fee that was earned by AMERI, in addition $360million that had been paid the company that built the plants, PPR because AMERI had pre-financed the deal to get Ghana the plants when the country was in the throes of debilitating energy crisis at the time.
Interestingly, following Parliament’s approval of the deal in 2015, with the NPP Minority duly participating, the deal had been sealed between government and AMERI, removing any authority of Parliament whatsoever from the deal.
In the 20th September statement, the NDC Minority pointed out that K.T. Hammond’s backward arch to tinker with the deal is ultra vires.
“It is strange that Hon. K.T Hammond, who was/is not a party to the agreement, is requesting Parliament to rescind its decision on the basis of gross misrepresentation. Hon. K.T Hammond has NO LOCUS STANDI in this matter. Though we in the Minority respect the concerns and Standing of Hon K.T Hammond as a member of the Committee on Mines and Energy to take up matters pertaining to the sector, in the overall circumstances of this matter, we think his request should not be honored.”
In the development, the Minority said it had been surprised by the government with its deafening silence on the issue even though subsequent to the approval of the deal by Parliament, it had become a contract between AMERI and the executive.
“It must be noted that, though Parliament has a constitutional role in the approval of International Economic or Financial Agreements to which the Government is a party, Parliament becomes FUNCTUS OFFICIO after approving such agreements. Once approved, the agreements are now in the domain of the parties thereto which, in this case, the Executive Arm of Government and AMERI Energy. If there is anything untoward about the agreement, it is for the parties to say so and take the necessary action within the framework of the agreement to vindicate their rights and not for any other person.
“Indeed, in the Supreme Court case of NDEBUGRE v ATTORNEY-GENERAL & ANOR, Suit Number J1/5/2013 (unreported), the Supreme Court held that where Parliament exercised its constitutional function of approving an agreement without indicating that it has a future role in the termination or variation of the terms of the agreement, Parliament cannot subsequently purport to partake in termination or varying such terms. In the specific instance of AMERI BOOT agreement, Parliament failed and/or neglected to indicate in the approval decision that it retained a future role in the termination of the agreement. Therefore, the attempt to do so using the motion filed by Hon. K.T Hammond is, in our considered opinion, ultra vires the powers of Parliament and hence unconstitutional.”
The Minority expressed surprise that the NPP Majority and K.T. Hammond are trying to set a bad precedent just to get the AMERI deal rescinded when no evidence about so-called improprieties have not been made available.
It pointed out that if such evidence exists, the right thing to do is to channel it to the executive, which now has full responsibility for the contract, so that it can be investigated.
“Finally, we must make it abundantly clear that the terms of the agreement contain dispute resolution mechanisms including resort to court action. We want to urge Hon. K.T Hammond to make his evidence of gross misrepresentation available to the Government which is a party to the agreement for the appropriate action to be taken. Government has every right to review past contracts and to correct every wrong therein in the interest of the people of Ghana; we take the view that this must be done in the right way and through the right means and not through the subterfuge of a motion for rescission.”
The Minority members on the Mines and Energy Committee said they were ready to help probe any impropriety in respect of the deal so long as it is properly submitted to the committee.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Stan Adotey & Felix Engsalige Nyaaba