John Jinapor, former Deputy Minister of Energy

Ranking member of Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee, John Abdulai Jinapor has questioned how the Minerals Commission will be excluded from the contract awarded to Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited (SML).

According to him, the Minerals Commission is run by experts in the field, therefore, for them to be oblivious of a contract that falls within their purview raises concerns.

Speaking on Newsnight on JoyFM, he said “This contract is laden with opacity, it’s not transparent. It does not meet the basic minimum standard. 

“These regulators are not just technical regulators. They are supposed to ensure that we also meet the revenue requirement, and so they have a role to play when it comes to quality assurance in respect to revenue. So why would they be sidelined in such an opaque contract?”

His comments follow the Minerals Commission’s claim that it did “not play any role in the award of the contract” to SML.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi, said this in response to a Right to Information (RTI) request from Manasseh Azure Awuni, an investigative journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth Estate who led exposure of the SML deal.

In this light, Mr Jinapor who is also Yapei Kusawgu MP said the clandestine manner the contract was handled created the impression that it was a private business rather than a state affair

“Clearly, there is a problem and if this contract was a good one why are officialdom so reluctant to release official information? What is so wrong in giving out information in respect? What is so secret about this? Are we developing a nuclear weapon?”

“A common contract is that you want to ensure that there is value for money, that there is quality assurance in terms of revenue. People are requesting for the document and you don’t want to release the document. Everybody is claiming ignorance? This country deserves better,” he said.

Although the President has requested KPMG to look into the matter, Mr Jinapor insists that Parliament must also play its part by verifying if the company adopted the right modus operandi in awarding the contract and if other companies were allowed to tender for the contracts.

He stressed that “How can you have one company, that are experts in the downstream centre, they are experts in the upstream centre, they are expert in gold, they are expert in bauxite, why? What kind of company is that? Octopus company. There is a major problem there,” he added.