Ghana’s Power Minister Paid $510m To Acquire Turbines Costing Half That Amount In A Deal Involving A Man Wanted For Fraud And Organised Crime

Ghana's Power Minister- Dr Kwabena Donkor. Photo via VG/Harald Henden

Ghana’s Power Minister- Dr Kwabena Donkor. Photo via VG/Harald Henden

Often we cry out about the incessant corruption this country is buried in. We have scandals like those of Woyome and SADA, and we try to guess at the dealings going on behind the scenes and the money changing hands- but it’s so rare that such raw evidence is laid at the foot of Ghanaians to be so sickened at.

A Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang (VG), carried out an investigation into a deal involving getting turbines for easing Ghana’s power crisis, spearheaded by Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor. The investigation was commissioned because one of the people involved, Umar Farooq Zahoor of the Ameri Group; is a man wanted in Norway for fraud and organised crime.

And not just that, but the agreement to get turbines for Ghana to ease the dumsor was highly suspicious, with the agreement calling for leasing the turbines for ten years, before paying a cost that is over twice its original price.

VG writes:

According to the agreement, Ghana will lease the ten gas turbines for five years. After that, Ghana becomes owner of the turbines after paying an equipment cost of 510 million dollars.

That same equipment could have been purchased for 220 million dollars. The Ghanaian authorities would have saved 290 million dollars

In addition to an equipment price of 510 million dollars, Ghana will pay variable costs of 16 million dollars annually, according to a report from the National Assembly of Ghana. Ghana will also need to pay for the gas to power the ten turbines.

VG’s investigations show that the standard price for these turbines is about 20 million dollars. Last summer, GE sold eight identical turbines to Sonelgaz, the state energy company in Algeria, for 161 million dollars.

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Dr Kwabena Donkor and deputy Attorney general Dominic Ayine signed on behalf of Ghana, with Umar Farooq Zahoor signing for the Ameri group.

The report also noted that when the agreement went before Parliament for approval, MP’s were told one of the key reasons for choosing Ameri over a more established force like GE (General Electric) was that Ameri had promised to deliver the turbines quickly, whilst GE would take nine months to a year to manufacture and deliver the turbines.

Yet it took eight months for Ameri to deliver the turbines, in October this year.

Everything points to a deliberate scam to defraud the people of Ghana, from the inflated price of the deal, to leasing something at crazy rates when we could simply buy the damned things, to dealing with a company run by a wanted criminal at the expense of an established industry force like GE.

When VG visited the power minister, he pled ignorance of Zahoor’s status, but that is criminal negligence on the part of a freaking Minister. It’s either he knew and went ahead with the deal anyway because of the money he could make, or he didn’t, and he’s not fit to run a waakye selling joint, much less Ghana’s entire power sector.

John Mahama has failed so many tests to show he is the kind of President Ghanaians want, but he simply can not fail this. Heads must roll, starting with Dr Kwabena Donkor, for this debacle. What happened is criminal, and in many other countries in the world the right thing would have been done by now. But, alas, we live in Ghana.

President John Dramani Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama

 

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Ghanaians should quietly watch, and make up their minds. It is simply disgusting the level this dumsor has been allowed to escalate to, crippling businesses, making people lose their jobs, countless other severe consequences the people of Ghana has had to deal with. I couldn’t write this piece earlier because I did not have power the entire day.

So if on top of all this, these heartless leaders are deciding to profit off of it (the Karpower deal is another hugely suspicious one), and then the President who is supposed to take care of all of us does nothing about it- then we just shut our mouths, and make our voices heard with our thumbs in next year’s elections.

John Mahama has been the most disappointing President I’ve had the misfortune to live under during my short life. He has a little chance to show he can occasionally be a human being by doing the right thing with this one, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Umar Farooq Zahoor (c) Privat

Umar Farooq Zahoor (c) Privat

 

This is just a snippet of the profile of the man we made the deal with, via VG:

“As early as 2013, Deputy Chief of Police for Oslo Gro Smogeli singled out Zahoor as a ringleader of one of Norway’s boldest and biggest bank frauds ever; the so-called Nordea Swindle.

VG announced today that Farooq Zahoor is also wanted internationally by Norwegian police and Interpol for his leading role in this scam.

The Pakistani Norwegian is also wanted for running a fake bank in Switzerland.”

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