Government to be dragged to court over power agreement

Dr-KwabenaDonkorThe Minority New Patriotic Party has served notice of its intention to drag government to court if it refuses to seek parliamentary approval for a power deal aimed at addressing the current energy crisis.

According to the Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah who petitioned the President through his lawyers led by Effutu MP, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markins, the zeal by the NDC government in dealing permanently with the over decade long old power crisis must be done in conformity with the 1992 constitution.

“…….The zeal by your government in addressing a national crisis of this magnitude which in no doubt has affected every facet of this economy must be exercised within the confines of the 1992 constitution,” the petition read.

The Electricity Company of Ghana has since the beginning of 2012 been shedding load in the country following an erratic power supply. The crisis has worsened in recent years, especially in the past few months, mainly attributable to low water levels in the Akosombo, Bui and Kpong dams, and also the lack of gas to power the country’s thermal plants.

The Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor proffered an explanation saying the country is shedding close to 440 megawatts of power during off-peak periods and 650 megawatts during peak periods as against planned 250 and 350 Megawatts for those same periods.

Both he and President John Dramani Mahama have all given a firm commitment of addressing the crisis permanently saying that a lot of investments in thermal energy production have been made, which are expected to impact positively on the country’s power supply in the future.

This is the first time in the country’s history that the people have to experience light off for as long a period as 24 hours and also the longest period of load shedding – since May 2012 to date.

As part of measures aimed at reducing the power deficits, government has gone into a power purchase agreement between the Electricity Company of Ghana and KarPower Ghana Limited for the supply of 450 megawatts of power without seeking parliamentary approval and scrutiny.

This has incurred the wrath of Dr Assibey Yeboah who in his petition argues that as “the people’s representatives who constitute Parliament, (they) have the sole mandate of approving all international commercial transactions of which the State is a party.”

The petition filed at the Flagstaff House and addressed to President John Dramani Mahama, was received by a lady only identified as Doris, on March the 24th, 2015.

Fingering the Attorney General for not giving the President good legal advice, the petition signed by Alexander Afenyo – Markin acting on the instructions of Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah added that “the learned Attorney General has erred in sanctioning the transaction to be executed without Parliamentary approval.”

In their view, “the failure of government to lay the aforesaid agreement in Parliament prior to its execution is not only a usurpation of the mandate of Parliament and a breach of Article 181(5) of the 1992 constitution but an upfront to democratic accountability and transparency.”

The said provision provides that Parliamentary approval is required in respect of “international business transactions” to which the state of Ghana is a party.

The petition also urged the President to attach seriousness to it in order “to avoid a situation whereupon the Court may have to intervene in this matter.”

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