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27.02.2006 General News

VRA’s Deal With Clark Under Scrutiny

By Ghanaian Chronicle

A company named Clark Sustainable Resources, with a former Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Joe Clark, as partner, last Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Volta River Authority (VRA) in a deal that is remarkable for its absence of transparency and due processes.

Though Mr. Clark and his partner, Wayne Dunn of British Columbia, are down as partners who are prepared to put down between $15 m and $20m to 'remove tree stumps' and end the 'nightmare of accidents on the Volta Lake, Chronicle has observed indecent pressure being applied on VRA to cough up to $6million, apart from ceding virtually all proceeds from the unfathomable wealth that is hidden in the bowels of the Akosombo dam.

The $ 6million is to be used for feasibility report (a demonstration project) and that is being actively canvassed by the deputy chief executive of VRA, Rev. I.N. Ghansah.

Rev Ghansah is reported to be putting pressure on the Ministry of Finance in particular, for the release of the money with a comprehensive heavily padded budget.

There is silence on the size of upfront investment that would be coming from Joe Clark and his island retreat based partner, Wayne Dunn, except the Clark name.

VRA insiders however insist that this deal, which involves harvesting miles of timber buried in the Volta Lake, is actually worth billions of dollars.

In the considered opinion of some VRA veterans, not only is the hundred miles plus lake, hiding timber of the highest premium quality which is most sought after, there are deposits that may include minerals – gold!

When Chronicle, through its investigative partners on the Globe and Mail in Canada put this proposition to Mr. Clark, he shrugged the suggestion off.

Less than two weeks before he set off to Ghana to sign the MOU with VRA, Mr. Clark had said, “Speculations that it could be worth billions of dollars is off the mark. Multi billion dollars? I am not trying to be cute about it.

We're at a process now with the MOU where we're naturally beginning to speak to investors and so we are engaged in the process of putting an evaluation on the company at this stage for investor purposes and ….. I wouldn't be comfortable giving you a figure, except it's not multi billion dollars'.

But last Friday, he finally said he would give only twenty percent to Ghana and keep eighty percent for himself and his partners, including a 'Ghanaian' whose name was not forthcoming.

Searches on Canadian registry of companies came up with nothing like Clark Sustainable Resources, though Tritton Logging, the British Columbia company which pioneered the science of underwater logging with its revolutionary 'Sawfish' equipment, confirmed having discussions with Wayne Dunn, the partner of Joe Clark.

Mr. Chris Godsall told The Chronicle's Canadian media investigative collaborators that indeed they are world leaders in underwater logging technology. “We had discussions with Joe's company …and his associates but we have not come to a formal agreement on the use of our technology.”

Disturbed VRA sources wonder what is special about Joe Clark and co, who have absolutely no equipment, to bring to add value when all they are going to do is to talk with Triton Logging.

“The Sawfish is available for hire to any body and we should cut them off so that Ghana would derive the maximum benefit if any, from this deal instead of allowing these gentlemen to come and tell us they will give us 20 percent and keep 80 percent.”

Documents sighted by The Chronicle signed by British Columbia based Wayne Dunn has him telling Mr. Joshua Ofedie, the Chief Executive of VRA that he is the principal shareholder of Clark Sustainable Resources, and mentions Clark, whose name carries some weight because he used to be Prime Minister in 1979, at the age of 40 and has been a Member of the Canadian Parliament for so many years.

'The right honourable Joe Clark and myself and a significant portion of the founding equity of the company is held by a Ghanaian citizen.

Mr. Clark will serve as Executive Chairman and I will hold the title, President'.