Board Chairman of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHAPOHA) has threatened to go to court over corruption allegtions against him during a recent press conference led by chairman of the Senior Staff Association of the Authority, John Aseeph.
Peter Mac Manu has caused his Solicitors, AB Lexmall & Associates, to formally inform Mr Aseeph that if he fails to retract and apologise for the “spurious allegations of corruption and conflict of interest” he made against the GHAPOHA Board Chair in ten days, legal action would be commenced.
“Our client finds your allegations highly defamatory and toxic to his reputation which he, as a businessman and politician, has worked tirelessly over many decades to build,” the letter addressed to Mr John Aseeph, and sighted by Myjoyonline.com said in part.
Four Workers’ Unions of GHAPOHA have been on a warpath with Mr Mac Manu for weeks now.
They have accused the Board Chairman of milking the Authority dry of millions of cedis through bad corporate governance practices.
Addressing a press conference last month Mr Aseeph, representing the aggrieved Unions spoke on a wide range of issues including alleging that the wife of Peter Mac Manu has taken over ticketing for staff travels.
According to him, the Authority “is being priced at cut-throat prices” by the wife of the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman.
“We are paying two and three times more than other competitors are offering for ticketing,” the spokesperson of the union alleged.
The four unions which comprise of Tema Senior Staff Union, Tema Junior Staff Union, Takoradi Senior Staff Union and Takoradi Junior Staff Union have also accused the Board Chairman of what they describe as “bad corporate governance practices.”
The Union further accused Mr Mac Manu of awarding a $4 million contract to wire the newly constructed electrical and materials block of GHAPOHA to his own company.
They have also accused the Board Chairman of facilitating a contract on an LNG Project, requesting management to let the company pay $200,000 for 25 years.
Shortly after the Unions’ press conference, Mr Mac Manu himself held a press conference to counter the allegations made against him.
He explained at his press conference that the allegations against him are “personal, direct and very painful.”
“It is painful because not a single one of the allegations is true,” he said.
The following are the essential parts of Mr Mac Manu’s press statement.
Let me put it on record, my wife’s travel and tour company – Special T Travels, first secured a contract to issue tickets for GPHA staff Travel in 2005. In fact, the NDC, after winning power abrogated the contracted in 2009. The only reason Special T Travels lost that contract was because of me.
Special T Travels went back to GPHA in January 2017 to be re-engaged in January 2017, when I was not even a Board Chairman. They were contracted by GPHA months before I was sworn in as Board Chairman in March 2017.
I also want to put on record that, when I was sworn in, I made full disclosure to the Board about my wife’s company dealing with GHPA.
The second allegation is that I forced GPHA to be shortchanged in a concession by asking the management to accept a mere $200,000 for a 25-year concession for an LNG Terminal project.
The Tema LNG Consortium is the entity contracted to receive and regasify Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Rosneft to be supplied to GNPC to feed some 25% of Ghana’s electricity supply.
Ladies and gentlemen, if for nothing at all, my work as board chairman, as the records will show, has been one of striking good deals for GPHA, or making sure that the right thing is done for GPHA and country and not the other way round.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Tema LNG Terminal project is one of the critical pieces of infrastructure that is required to secure energy supply in the country.
The objective of the project is to address the projected deficit in gas supply in the country within the medium to long term in order to avoid any potential power crises in the country.
Attempts to negotiate with GPHA had dragged on for nearly a year until last month the Board, which I lead, stepped in to finalise the negotiations.
Our only crime, maybe, is that we directed Management to expedite negotiations in light of the critical importance of the infrastructure to the country’s energy security.
We did not influence or take part in the technical and commercial discussions. Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, due to our intervention, the GPHA management team progressed negotiations and concluded one of the best deals for the country.
Terms of the Agreement were finalized on May 16, 2018, before the press conference against me. The agreement was negotiated between a full GPHA team (over 12 people drawn from all relevant departments, including the Director of Tema Port, Edward Osei) and the Tema LNG Consortium team, including their international lawyers.
I would also like to state that:
1. GPHA does not make any capital contribution to the construction of the LNG terminal.
2. Tema LNG is financing the entire project all by itself at no cost to GPHA whatsoever.
3. The estimated value of the concession to GPHA is some $100m to GHPA over the lifetime of the contract! Not $200,000. [GPHA’s revenue over the lifetime of the contract will be generated from various fees, including, concession fees, royalties and port dues payable in accordance with the terms of the Concession Agreement.]
4. The concession is for 17 years and not 25, even though GNPC intends to use the facility for more than 25 years.
5. The entire marine infrastructure of the terminal is transferred to GPHA after 12 years of operations, which GPHA will own, and should be operational for at least another 13 years, generating further revenue for GPHA in the long term.
6. GPHA is not contributing a pesewa to this! The workers should compare this project to other facilities, like MPS, negotiated by the previous NDC regime.
7. The result of our directive to management to get on with the negotiations was that Tema LNG operators will make a $600,000 upfront non-refundable payment to GPHA, which brings value to GPHA from the outset of the project.
8. An estimated total of over $5.5 million annual payments will be made my the Tema LNG Consortium to GPHA. Yes! Not $200,000. This is the actual value of the deal