Mr Inusah Fuseini - Deputy Minister of Energy
According to him, both Mr Mpiani, a former Chief of Staff and Prof Oquaye, a former Minister of Energy in the Kufour administration, acted with impunity in the abrogation of the Isofoton S.A. contract to provide solar rural electrification under a Ghana-Spain protocol.
Mr Mpiani has been singled out for blame in the latest revelation in the series of judgement debts currently dominating public
discourse, but in the latest twist to the Isofoton issue, Prof Oquaye is also being accused.
The company is seeking damages amounting to $1.3 million following a breach of its contract with the ministries of Agriculture and Energy under the Kufour regime.
Mr Fuseini who was addressing the media in Accra said “people must take responsibility for their actions. It is not just enough today that those judgement debts are being paid. It is important to enquire and explain the reason why judgement debts are being paid.”
He said it was important for the people of Ghana to know persons whose acts and omissions had given rise to liability for the state.
According to him, if Prof Oquaye had not abrogated the contract, and Mr Mpiani given the new contract to another Spanish company, Elecnor, which is the company currently executing the project, the nation would not be liable to cough up such an amount to settle the judgement debt.
Many have questioned the rationale behind paying Isofoton $400,000 when the case is still pending before court, and the Court of Appeal is scheduled to rule on an aspect of the case today.
Narrating the chronology of events leading to the current state of affairs, Mr Fuseini said the government had in 2001, signed a deal with Isofoton S.A for the installation of solar panels under the watch of Mr Albert Kan Daapah as Energy Minister, and witnessed by Mr Otu Danquah, who was working with the Ministry of Energy.
He said even before the contract took off, Prof Mike Oquaye, who had taken over as Minister of Energy, abrogated the contract under the pretext that the procurement law had been passed and all contracts must be subjected to the law.
He said with that excuse, a tender process was initiated and a number of companies invited to submit bids for the project.
According to Mr Fuseini, even before the bids were opened, Mr Mpiani by a letter dated March 21, 2006 directed the Energy Minister to hand over the project to Elecnor, another Spanish company.
The purported letter signed by Mr Mpiani and headlined, “Approved Projects Under the Second Ghana-Spanish Protocol” read in part: “ This is to confirm the earlier correspondence from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, as well as discussions you had with the ministry on the above subject. We wish to inform you that the following projects as well as amount earmarked for the project have been approved for your ministry. The Spanish company to execute the project has also been indicated against the project,” it said.
That letter, Mr Fuseini noted, caused a lot of injury to Ghana’s case, saying, “If Prof Oquaye had not cancelled the initial commercial contract between the Ministry of Energy and Isofoton there would not have been subsequent tenders.
“If he had not directed the award of the contract to Elecnor in 2006 and bids that were submitted by all companies that had entered in executing the project, we would have been exonerated and a rational and logical basis would have been advanced.”
He said it was becoming unacceptable that when “we are confronted with judgement with the issue, people fail to tell the reason why the judgement debt are being paid in the first place.”
A Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, was the first to raise the issue, presenting some documents, including a letter purported to have been written by the then Attorney General, Mr Joe Ghartey, warning Mr Mpiani and the ministries involved about the implications if the contract was terminated.
But Mr Ghartey was quoted in other media as saying that the basis of a letter he wrote to the Finance Minister was based on the information available.
“It was pointed out to me by the Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Kwadwo Mpiani, that at the time I wrote the letter, there was some information that was not available to me and the information that was not available to me was that after a company has qualified under this grant, there was a further requirement for qualification by the Spanish government; in addition to us qualifying the person, the person must also be qualified by the Spanish Government; this was brought to my attention and, therefore, my view changed,” he was alleged to have said.