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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Parliament to probe Balkan and Zakhem contracts

Moses Asaga
Moses Asaga
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy will soon commence investigations into allegations of financial impropriety against the Volta River Authority over contracts it signed with Balkan and Zakhem.

A British diplomat, Craig Murray blew the whistle over what he referred to as a rip-off by Balkan Energy PLC as a result of an “unintelligent contract” signed by an “extremely stupid” Ghanaian official.

Balkan, a US company, was contracted in 2007 by the Kufuor-led administration to operate the Osagyefo Barge which was expected to produce about 185 watts of electricity.

Following the allegations by Murray, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy, Moses Asaga said he has always been suspicious of the Balkan agreement even when his party was in opposition.

He told Joy News, the project manager of the Balkan company was very “rude” to him and the media when they visited the facility.

Asaga was then the ranking member on Energy. He said the behavior of the project manager struck a cord of suspicion, adding, the issues raised by Murray were quite valid.

On Zakhem, Mr Asaga intimated that the US company has been paid money for doing virtually nothing.

He confirmed that officials of the VRA will be hauled before the committee to answer questions on the status of the two projects

But the former Deputy Energy Minister in the erstwhile NPP government, KT Hammond, says the government must not be quick in drawing conclusions.

Even though he does not remember the full details of the two contracts, he believes due process was followed in awarding them.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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