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04.04.2007 Business & Finance

Ghana given raw deal

By times

President J. A. Kufuor has lashed at CMS Energy for breach of contract.

The company, a shareholder in the Takoradi International Company (TICO) which runs the Aboadze Thermal Plant in partnership with the Volta River Authority (VRA), clandestinely sold out its shares to TAQA, a company in the Middle East, without the knowledge of government, he said.

Speaking at a meeting with CMS Energy management at the Castle yesterday, President Kufour said that though Ghana has 10 per cent shares in TICO with an option to buy a further 40 per cent, it would have been appropriate for CMS to consult government before selling out its shares.

He said such a strategic decision in a company that means so much to the people of Ghana should have been taken properly in consultation with government.

He described CMS Energy as a partner which has taken Ghanaians for granted and stated that government will not allow that to happen.

He said in spite of CMS Energy broader international business arrangements, TICO is a separate business entity registered in Ghana under the laws of the land and insisted that things must be done in the right way.

"CMS Ghana is a sovereign subsidiary subject to the laws of Ghana because of the agreement between it and the VRA and as a legal entity, there is nothing that can supersede the laws governing it in the country," he said.

He said it was unfortunate that such events are happening at a time that Ghana intends to increase its holdings in the company.

"I am surprised that you have sold off your shares to TAQA and we dont know. Ghana will not consider itself part of whatever agreement you have with TAQA," he said.

President Kufuor advised CMS Energy to do its homework well and come back to government to clear all doubts and suspicions surrounding the deal, "otherwise government will have nothing to do with TAQA."

The President of CMS Energy, Tom Edwards, who led the delegation said, "we welcome the opportunity to talk later" but stated earlier that the deal was sealed under CMS Energy international business arrangements.

He said CMS Energy has been operating in Ghana for the past 15 years and gave the assurance that "things would be done right."

Present at the meeting were the Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, National Security Minister Francis Poku, Deputy Energy Minister K.T. Hammond and Deputy Attorney General Kwame Osei Prempeh as well as the advisor to the President, Mrs Chinnery Hesse.