March 2, 2024

Nearly six years after Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a lawyer and founder of the Danquah Institute sued the Managing Editor of The Herald newspaper, Larry-Alans Dogbey for defamation over publication on his involvement in the US$510 million Africa and Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI) Thermal Power Plant, something strange has happened.

Boakye Agyarko, the Energy Minister at the time, has revealed how the 250-Megawatt (MW) Ameri Power Plant was renegotiated by naming persons, including Mr Otchere-Darko, President Nana Akufo-Addo’s trusted cousin, whose conduct and actions during the renegotiation formed the basis for his removal from office in 2018.

Aside Gabby, he mentioned the President himself as playing dumb and playing double games on the AMERI renegotiation, two of the President’s cousins Nana Bediatuo Asante, who is the Executive Secretary to the President, the ex-Minister of Works and Housing and Member of Parliament (MP) for the Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and Speaker Mike Oquaye and journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni.

He accused the President of creating parallel negotiation teams with one led by Lawyer Philip Addison, while another was led by Gabby acting through a law firm.

Atta Akyea of inciting the members of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament against him, although the President, had met him and the Speaker to ensure that the negotiated AMERI deal got Parliamentary approval, Nana Bediatuo Asante of usurping the Vice-President’s executive powers in the absence of President Akufo-Addo.

Journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, according to him, had given mileage to Gaby’s Facebook publication on him – Agayko, that as Energy Minister, he was not focused on his work, but rather chasing his presidential ambition. Not long after, he was sacked over the AMERI deal which same Gaby had given him a document as the new position of the Akufo-Addo government, saying it had the blessing of the President.

Mr Otchere-Darko, who is a member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) but without any portfolio in the Akufo-Addo’s administration, had sued this newspaper asking for aggravated damages against it and Mr Dogbey for publication on the controversial AMERI deal, which among other things, accused Mr Otchere-Dark of elbowing and dictating the negotiation.

However, six years on, the case has never been called even for a day. The lawyer, Kissi Agyebeng of Cromwell Gray LLP, who filed the case on Mr Otchere-Darko’s behalf has abandoned the case and moved to become the Special Prosecutor, leaving the case around the newspaper and its management.

The AMERI Power Plant was procured during the John Mahama administration for US$510 million to increase the country’s energy capacity to meet the country’s energy demand.

The agreement was signed in February 2015 under Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) after five years.

Narrating the circumstances leading to his removal from office on Kumasi-based Asanteman FM, Mr Boakye Agyarko, a former Policy Advisor for then-candidate Akufo-Addo, said when the NPP was in opposition, one of the things they planned to do was to renegotiate the terms of the power plants contracted by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) including the AMERI Power Plant.

See also  Wontumi has asked Bawumia to reject Napo as running mate – Dr Amoako Baah alleges

Consequently, Mr Agyarko, stated that an eighteen-member committee with institutional representation from the energy sector agencies was constituted and chaired by Lawyer Philip Addison and Vicky Bright.

He said the decision Cabinet took was to find a way to get AMERI Energy Group, the owners of Ameri Power Plant out of the contract and instead negotiate with Metka, a company which was operating the plant, by making the cost of the contract lesser.

He explained that the committee started the negotiations and everything was going on smoothly.

In the course of the negotiations, he said the committee members travelled to Dubai, UAE, to meet officials of Ameri Energy Group to continue the negotiation but said during one of the visits to Dubai, the officials of Ameri Energy Group became very hostile and he had to order the negotiations team to leave and return to Ghana.

Mr Boakye Agyarko continued that during the period of renegotiation of the contract with Ameri Energy Group, he was onboard an aircraft at the Kotoka International Airport to Houston, Texas, USA when he received a telephone call from Mr Gabby Asare Otchere- Darko, a cousin of President Akufo-Addo lamenting that he had been trying to reach him but he (Agyarko) was not answering his calls.

“I told him I was onboard a flight travelling. Then he (Gabby) told me that he was sending me a document via email so I should check.

“When I arrived safely and went to my hotel room, I opened my email address and saw the document. To my surprise, Gabby had, on the blind side of the Committee set up and approved by the President to renegotiate with Ameri Energy Group, contracted a law firm to engage Ameri Energy Group and completed their negotiation and recommended a certain company to operate the Ameri Power Plant and extended the contract to 20 years.

“I sent Gabby mail and asked him what authority he had to do that. And I told him Cabinet has given specific instructions to follow and his response was what makes me think that my Boss (President Akufo-Addo) doesn’t know about what he has done…so I kept quiet,” Mr Agyarko stated.

According to Mr Agyarko, when he returned from the trip, he went to President Akufo-Addo and told him about what ensued between him and his cousin, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.

He said President Akufo-Addo asked him what he thought was wrong about what Gabby has done and his response to him was that “the authority to renegotiate the terms of the Ameri Power Plant doesn’t lie in the hands of Gabby and that the proposal the firm he contracted had violated all the Cabinet instructions and extended the contract to 20 years.”

See also  Navy Officers Involved In Crude Oil Theft – Chief Of Naval Staff

He said President Akufo-Addo was satisfied with the explanation he gave, adding that he, however, requested him to forward the proposal by the law firm Gabby had engaged to the Chairman of the Committee and he did so.

Based on President Akufo-Addo’s instruction, Mr Agyarko said he sent the document to Lawyer Philip Addison but upon receipt of the document, he flared up because he did not understand what was happening.

Mr Agyarko revealed that a prominent person told the Committee that President Akufo-Addo did not support the renegotiation they were doing and that, Mr Agyarko said, discouraged the members of the Committee.

Continuing, Mr Agyarko said he went to Parliament for a Ministry of Energy business and while in Parliament, the Member of Parliament for South Abuakwa, Lawyer Atta Akyea warned him not to set foot in Parliament to present the Addison Committee Report.

Mr Agyarko said Atta Akyea said he would mobilise the whole House to walk him out if he set foot in Parliament.

He said unknown to him, Mr Atta Akyea had already prepared the ground and so when he went to meet the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy and Finance, the MPs were very hostile and did not even offer him a seat.

Mr Agyarko explained that President Akufo-Addo called the speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Aaron Ocquaye, and Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader, at the time Parliament was about to rise to make sure that the Ameri Power Plant Renegotiated Agreement was passed before the House rose for recession.

He said when he arrived at Parliament, the Speaker told him that the mood in Parliament was not favourable so instead of seeking Parliamentary approval, they should go by Executive Approval. Given that, he called Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia since President Akufo-Addo was out of the country.

He stated that the Vice President was at an event in Tamale and could not respond but the information was relayed to him and requested that the document be sent to him at home.

Mr Agyarko said he sent four people led by one Michael Opam but they did not meet the Vice President at home. He said a lady who received them wanted them to leave the document, a request he said his messengers declined and so they returned the document.

Mr Agyarko said the four people went to Dr Bawumia’s home for the second time and when they met him, they left the document with him to append his signature.

Surprisingly, Mr Agyarko revealed that when they went back for the document, they noticed that Lawyer Nana Bediatuo Asante, Executive Secretary of President Akufo-Addo, had signed the document instead of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

When energynewsafrica.com which monitored Mr. Agyarko’s interview said it reached Mr. Otchere-Darko on WhatsApp for his response to the claims by the ex- Energy Minister, but he stated that he was not interested in commenting on the issue.

See also  Today's Newspaper Frontpages; Monday, November 6, 2023

The Daily Graphic newspaper’s online portal on September 5, 2018, had a headline “Gabby sues Herald, Larry Dogbe over Ameri publication”.

It had said “The June 22, 2018 edition of the Herald newspaper with the headline “Akufo-Addo’s family turns Ghana into a monarchy state; powerful bumpty, Gabby Otchere-Darko surge on Ameri deal” suggested in part that Mr Otchere-Darko was involved in some underhand deals in the infamous Ameri renegotiation deal.

“The energy sector, has witnessed the biggest incursion of the governing family with various mid-night deals being cut on the blind side of Ghanaians. The situation looks like Ghana is now a monarchy with president Akufo-Addo, sitting at the top as king”

According to Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the allegations made by Mr Dogbey in the newspaper were palpably false.

The June 22, 2018 edition of the Herald newspaper with the headline “Akufo-Addo’s family turns Ghana into a monarchy state; powerful bumpty, Gabby Otchere-Darko surge on Ameri deal” suggested in part that Mr Otchere-Darko was involved in some underhand deals in the infamous Ameri renegotiation deal.

“The energy sector, has witnessed the biggest incursion of the governing family with various mid-night deals being cut on the blind side of Ghanaians. The situation looks like Ghana is now a monarchy with president Akufo-Addo, sitting at the top as king”

According to Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the allegations made by Mr Dogbey in the newspaper were palpably false.

“In the heat of the allegations, he posted a picture on facebook saying in December 2016, at the time when the NPP was in opposition, members of the Dubai based company had approached and met with the Akufo-Addo led campaign even before the NPP won the elections.

“According to him, it was a picture taken in that meeting which supporters of the NDC were riding on and creating the impression as if the meeting had taken place whilst the NPP was in government.

“He has proceeded from the facebook post to the law court, seeking damages for what he says is a dent on his reputation.

“The defendants were malicious in their publication of the words complained of. The defendants were persistent and emphatic as to the purported undesirability and domineering nature of the plaintiff.

“The defendants insisted that the falsehood they were knowingly peddling was the truth,” he said in his 12-paged writ he filed against Larry Dogbe and his Herald newspaper.

“He is asking the court for “general damages for libel” as well as “aggravated damages arising out of the libel.”

“However, the Editor of the newspaper has told Joy News he is unfazed by the suit.

“According to him Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko is trying to gag him on a matter that has received immense public interest.

“He was emphatic that he stands by the allegations made in the publication.

 

 

 

Source: The Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *