Ghana-Turkey power deal in legal limbo

Ghana gov't's effort to end inadequate power woes hits roadblock after opposition MP brings action against 'illegal' deal

Ghana-Turkey power deal in legal limbo

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ghana’s attempts to generate electricity with the support of a Turkish company have been thrown into a legal limbo after a Ghanaian opposition member of parliament filed a legal suit against the deal.

The ten-year power purchase agreement, signed between Karpowership Ghana Company Limited, a subsidiary of Turkey-based Karadeniz Holding, and the state-run Electricity Company of Ghana was expected to produce more than one fifth of Ghana’s power needs.

The company has already begun building two floating power stations at a total estimated cost of $1.2 billion for Ghana and is expected to deliver the ships by August 2015.

However, the Ghanaian MP Mark Assibey Yeboah has filed a suit -- through his fellow MP and lawyer, Afenyo Markin -- at the Supreme Court, Ghana’s highest court, to challenge the constitutionality of the deal.

Under the laws of Ghana, every agreement with an international company ought to be pre-approved by the parliament. The MP’s decision to head to the court is due to government’s failure to bring the agreement before the house.

“The Supreme Court must determine whether or not the agreement between the Electricity Company of Ghana and Karpowership constitutes an international business transaction of which government is a party,” Markin said during a parliamentary session.

According to the deputy, it was an unlawful move for the state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to issue a bank guarantee in the deal between the two companies.

“Clearly, it tells you that somebody is not ready to follow due process and to respect the Constitution of Ghana,” the Ghanaian lawmaker said.

The Electricity Company of Ghana was forced to enter into the power purchase agreement after a prolonged power crisis. The Turkish power ships are part of the government’s emergency plans at tackling the situation.

"Karpowership Ghana Company will be supporting the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, while providing a turnkey solution to deliver fast-track electricity to meet the country's high energy demand," Karpowership director, Patrick O'Driscoll told Anadolu Agency in an earlier interview.

Markin insists, however, that much as the country needs urgent assistance, it must be done through legal means.

“The fact that we are going through a power crisis does not mean that government should take advantage and breech the constitution of Ghana,” he said.

“Ghanaians want their government to be transparent and Ghanaians want their government to do the right thing in every effort it is making to resolve the power crisis,” he added.

The court suit is expected to cause further delay in the arrival of the two power ships from Turkey, casting doubt on the Ghana government’s attempt to address the power crisis.

The government has faced several demonstrations in the past few months over the constant lack of adequate power supply in the country.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Haziran 2015, 17:56