Ghana Energy Minister Fired Due to Power Deal, Says Presidency

(Bloomberg) -- Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo fired the country’s energy minister due to proposals for a renegotiation of a $510 million private power deal with Africa Middle East Resources Investment Ltd.

Akufo-Addo dismissed Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko on Monday and appointed Land and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu to oversee the ministry in an acting capacity, according to a statement issued by the presidency. Agyarko’s dismissal was related to the amendment of a deal with Ameri, Eugene Arhin, a spokesman for the presidency, said Tuesday in a broadcast on Accra-based Joy FM.

Akufo-Addo’s government started a review of the 250 megawatts deal in August last year after claiming that the country was overpaying by $150 million for a transaction that was first negotiated in 2015 by the previous administration of President John Mahama. At the time, Ghana experienced chronic blackouts, crippling factories and exacerbating weak growth that slowed to the lowest in more than two decades.

Under a proposal that was submitted to lawmakers with the backing of Akufo-Addo last month, a new operator would take over running the plant in a deal that would’ve incurred Ghana $825 million in fresh costs, according to an estimate by Kwadwo Poku, country director of Gasop Oil Ghana Ltd., an Accra-based oil explorer.

Best Interest

The portfolio committee on finance and energy rejected the proposal.

“Considering the nature of the information that has come out regarding the Ameri deal, the President feels at this time it is in the best interest of the country” to relieve Agyarko from his position, Arhin said on Joy FM.

If “the amendment was going to cost the nation more while the minister presented it otherwise, then the President would deem it as serious wrong advice,” said Poku.

Deputy Energy Minister Mohammed Amin Adam wasn’t readily available for comment when contacted by phone. Calls to the mobile phone of Agyarko didn’t connect. Ameri didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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