AMERI Deal Wahala: Kwabena Donkor seeks refuge in Parliament

Member of Parliament (MP) for Pru East, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, says he will petition the Speaker of Parliament for his privilege to be upheld, following the invasion of his residence by officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.

At about 6.15am yesterday, four CID officers, led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), stormed the Spintex residence of Dr. Kwabena Donkor, who is the former Minister for Power, to search his property in connection with investigations into the contentious $510 million AMERI deal.

Albeit he did not resist the CID from carrying out their duty, following a search warrant they had from an Accra Circuit Court, the MP argued that the invasion of his house was a breach on his privileges as a sitting MP.

According to Order 22 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana: “No civil or criminal process coming from any court or place out of Parliament shall be served on, or executed in relation to, Mr. Speaker or a Member or the Clerk to Parliament while he is on his way to, attending at, or returning from any proceedings of Parliament.”

Cementing the Privileges and Immunities further, Order 23 (2) says: “The certificate of Mr. Speaker that a Member or the Clerk is attending the proceedings of Parliament shall be conclusive evidence of attendance at Parliament.”

Therefore, considering his immunities and privileges that he is obliged to enjoy as an MP, per the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana, Dr. Donkor said whoever sent the CID to invade his house with the search warrant had muddied the waters.

In view of this, he said he would consider a court action against the faceless person(s) who sent the CID to search his house.

Yesterday, four officers of the CID conducted about a three-hour thorough search in the house of Dr. Kwabena Donkor, in connection with investigations into the controversial $510 million AMERI deal.

The officers eventually took away Dr. Donkor’s laptop and four pen drives.

Speaking to Montie FM in Accra, Dr. Kwabena Donkor said the CID personnel arrived in his house with a search warrant from an Accra Circuit Court.

He explained that, his bedroom and those of his wife and children were also hunted, on suspicion for causing financial loss to the state.

Saying yesterday was his first time of seeing that allegation against him, the former Minister and MP, however, said: “The CID officers were very professional in dispatching their duty.”

Dr. Donkor expressed worry that the present Ministry of Energy, with Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko as the Minister, could have invited him to lay bare anything the Ministry did not understand in connection with the AMERI contract.

“All documents on AMERI are public…the agreement went through Cabinet, the Committee on Mines and Energy, recommended by consensus and was passed by Parliament.

“The Ministry of Energy, now, set up a committee to investigate the AMERI contract, and I have not gone anywhere. The committee could have invited me for interrogation…they did not, except for somebody to go for a search warrant to come to my premises, that I was being investigated on suspicion for causing financial loss to the state,” the Pru East MP explained.

Speaking on Joy FM too, Dr. Kwabena Donkor said: “Every document on AMERI is a public document, and the documents were submitted to Parliament. Therefore, there is absolutely no private document in my custody.

Dr. Kwabena Donkor said he would go to the Police Headquarters at reasonable time to collect his laptop and USB flash drives.

In February 2015, the Ministry of Power, representing the Government of Ghana entered into a$510 million SOS power agreement with AMERI Energy, in the heat of the ‘dumsor’ crisis, to mitigate the power crisis.
The then-opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), as well as Civil Society Organisations such as IMANI and Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), criticised the deal, saying the government could have gone for the same deal at almost half the price.

Following media reports on the outrageous cost of the project, the Nana Akufo-Addo government, therefore, set up a committee to look into the deal.

The Committee was led by a private legal practitioner, Phillip Addison, and it disclosed in its report, the technical and financial lapses it found in the contract.

The Phillip Addison Committee found out that though AMERI secured the deal, the developer that built and financed the thermal plant charged $360million.

However, AMERI forwarded a bill of $510million in the agreement.

Source: Inusa Musah || The Chronicle.

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