The Country Manager of Ameri Energy, Francis Churchill, has dared the Ministry of Energy, to, on behalf of the government of Ghana, sue the Dubai-based power company, as threatened by Nana Kofi Oppong Damoah, Head of Communication and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Energy, in connection with Ameri’s denial that it had knowledge of the renegotiated $510 million BOOT energy deal signed between the two parties in 2015.
According to Mr Damoah, a letter making the rounds on social media purported to have come from Ameri Energy claiming it had no knowledge whatsoever about the Novation and Amendment Agreement vis-à-vis the five-year Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) deal, has not reached the Minister or any of its agents.
“First of all, let me state clearly that the letter that is making the rounds on social media that is claiming that Ameri knows nothing about the deal and that letter is addressed to the Energy Minister has not reached the ministry. I do not know if Ameri or top officials of Ameri did confirm to you that they wrote that letter because, as of now, we have seen the letter making the rounds on social media but the letter has not gotten to the ministry or any of its agents whatsoever”, Mr Damoah told Blessed Sogah in an interview on Monday, 6 August 2018.
According to him, “We have no squabbles with Ameri at the moment except that if you are confirming that, indeed, Ameri are saying that they penned the said letter, then it points to outright mischief and we may even consider legal action against Ameri because the facts of the matter is that the letter that is making the rounds, which is creating whatever controversy there is, has not yet reached the Energy Ministry. So, we see this as a mischievous attempt to misinform the general public and we may act accordingly.
“We will study our options but yes it [court action] is not off the table yet because this is a very disturbing move”, he said.
In the 31 July 2018 letter, Ameri said: “Moreover, also never had insight of any commercial discussion between you and the new party, therefore, could not have verified that the above permissions were not obtained at the time of presentation before parliament.
“In view of the ongoing circumstance, the management of Ameri Energy has taken notice of this and would like to inform you that we shall not be deemed associated with the Novation and Amendment Agreement and will only remain committed to our original BOOT agreement signed on 20th of February 2015.
“Upon the completion of our five-year term, your ministry can freely decide to handover the project to any third party at a commercial arrangement you may deem right.”
In that letter, Ameri Energy also implored the government of Ghana to pay a defaulted amount of $82, 660, 560.00, warning that failure to defray the debt could spark legal action on their side.
Despite its denial that: “We [Ameri] have never been involved” with Ghana’s Ministry of Energy “in any kind of negotiations or discussions related to” the “Novation and Amendment Agreement”, a separate letter dated 24 July 2018, with Reference Number: AME/LT/GHA/00/18/014, signed by Maher Al Alili, Acting CEO of Ameri Energy, sighted by ClassFMonline.com/91.3FM, shows that the Middle Eastern firm gave its Ghanaian representative, Nicholas Mawuse Addo, express and explicit authorisation to “initial” the deal on the company’s behalf.
The letter titled ‘Letter of Authorisation’, said: “I, Maher Al Alili, the acting Chief Executive Officer of Ameri Energy Power Equipment Trading L.L.C. (“the Company”), a company duly incorporated and vividly existing under the laws of United Arab Emirates, on behalf of the Company, hereby authorise Mr Nicholas Mawuse Addo, Ghanaian national holding passport number G0696684 (“the Authorised Representative”) (copy enclosed) to only initial the Novation and Amendment Agreement for Build Own Operate & Transfer Agreement, dated 10/02/2015 (“the Purpose”), signed between the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Energy and Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group L.L.C., which was subsequently assigned to Ameri Energy Power Equipment Trading L.L.C. (“the Transaction”) in connection with the Transaction”.
It continued: “This authority is strictly limited to the Purpose and only allows the Representative to only initial the Novation and Amendment Agreement”.
It added: “This Authorisation in favour of the Authorised Representative, shall expire on 27th day of July 2018”.
According to Mr Damoah, “Now, if after initialing it [new deal], Ameri can now say that they have no idea of the negotiations that went on, then one might want to question: On what basis they issued that letter to Nicholas Mawuse Addo to initial the agreement as it were”.
But Mr Churchill, in an exclusive interview with Class91.3FM’s Ekow Annan, said: “He should go ahead and sue … If he sues Ameri and then we go to court, you’ll know about it, isn’t it? So, let’s wait until we get to the court together with them so everybody will know the truth, for now let’s leave it, just tell him that we are waiting on his suit to be served on Ameri then you’ll know. If he doesn’t do that then it means that he is lying.
“Our position hasn’t changed but since he said he is going to sue Ameri, we are ready, he should go ahead, and prove it in court that Ameri had knowledge, that they invited Ameri and Ameri is deeply involved, so we are ready, they should go to court, we are ready, he should go, nobody should be threatening somebody because he thinks that disgrace has come to them.
“If he doesn’t go to court, he is a coward…” Mr Churchill fumed.
Per the renegotiated Novation and Amendment Agreement, Ameri Energy would have been bought out and handed over to Mytilineos International Trading Company for 15 years.
Per that deal, Mytilineos offered to pay Ameri Energy off with $52,160,560, while the government of Ghana would have topped it up with $39 million.
The deal was, however, cancelled by President Nana Akufo-Addo, even though he had earlier approved it through an Executive Order, while it pended parliamentary nod.