AMERI Palaver: Why Minority Abandoned Parliament Deliberations


Minority Members of Parliament walked out of the house on Tuesday, 1st August, 2017, over the Speaker’s decision to forward the motion to withdraw the 2015 AMERI deal to the Parliamentary Energy Committee.

Speaking to the press after the bycott, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu pointed out that the Speaker’s manner of handling issues in the house “is endangering parliamentary democracy and its practice”, and they [the minority] had no option than to protest.

“Let me place on record to protest against the conduct of the Speaker in referring a motion to a committee of parliament – a motion which has not been debated and a motion for which no decision has been taken,” he stressed.

“This is a house governed by procedure and a house governed by rules and standing orders,” Mr. Iddrisu added.

Also commenting on the issue while speaking on Citi FM, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka indicated that it was the first time in his life in parliament a motion was referred to a committee after being moved and seconded, without being deliberated on.

“You see, we keep talking about the gagging but people don’t understand… It is because the Minority have reasons to speak and if you do everything to prevent them from speaking, you make the House very difficult to govern,” he said.

Before now, the Minority has been complaining about being suppressed in the house, with fingers being pointed at the speaker as to being biased against them. They have also threatened to impeach him over the same matter.

Background

The issue of the controversial energy contract between the government of Ghana and the Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group Llc (AMERI Energy), was once again presented to the house about a week ago.

This was after the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa and former Deputy Minister of Energy, Kobina Tahir Hammond, filed an urgent motion for the allegedly bloated contract to be revoked.

In his motion, KT Hammond prayed;

“That this House rescinds its decision to approve the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group Llc (AMERI) Energy for the installation of 10 GE TM2,500 plus aero derivative gas turbines, operate, maintain, transfer and provision of support services that the House took on March 20, 2015 for reasons of gross misrepresentations.”

The motion which has been filed featured in Tuesday’s [July 25] Order Paper but was not deliberated on same day.

Speaking to Daily Guide on the issue, Mr. Hammond stated that he has ample evidences with which to prove that there were “gross misrepresentations” in the AMERI deal, hence the need for it to be rescinded.

He however said he will not share the facts with the media ahead of the movement of his motion.

Ameri Deal

The Ameri Power Deal is a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement signed between Ghana and UAE-based energy company, AMERI in the heat of the 2015 crippling energy crisis under the John Mahama administration.

The deal which stood at a whopping cost of $510m specifically involves the installation of 10 General Electric TM 2500 aero-derivative gas turbines at the Aboadze Power enclave, near Takoradi in the Western Region. Click here to get full details of the Ameri energy contract.

Proposals for the contract was however greeted with much heated argument from the then minority New Patriotic Party MPs who believed that the price was bloated. But as the ‘ayes’ (majority NDC) had it, the minority reluctantly gave their go ahead, and the agreement was signed.

But since then, speculations has been rife that the Ameri deal was overpriced and fraught with corruption, with heated controversies arising every now and then among stakeholders over the issue.

The NPP governmment on assuming power this year, promised to look into the issue, with a 17-member committee headed by Philip Addison set up to investigate the Ameri deal. Their investigation is meant to provide the government with facts on the alleged irregularities associated with the deal, as well as clear evidences with which to push for a review or withdrawal of the contract.

It however appears from the current proceedings, that the majority is deciding on rescinding the contract, with or without the express consensus of the minority; on a “do-me-I-do-you” basis.