Last week, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) released a damning report about the contract to engage MPS to manage the terminal at the Tema Port.
An investigation into the contract revealed that a French billionaire Vincent Bolloré shortchanged the Ghanaian government.
Ghana’s ministerial investigation and Africa Confidential’s research show how Bolloré and his foreign partners:
- persuaded then-President John Dramani Mahama to award MPS a new container terminal contract in secret, with no tender or bids, in 2014, violating procurement laws;
- overstated the planned investment by a factor of two which won tax holidays worth $832 million from an unwitting parliament;
- surreptitiously cut Ghana’s equity in MPS to 15% after first agreeing to 30%;
- persuaded the government to allow it a monopoly on handling containers, putting thousands of jobs at other port concerns at risk and driving up prices, and to set tariffs;
- reduced the fees payable to the government over the life of the concession by $4.1 billion.
The terms under which MPS operates the new terminal were ‘gravely detrimental to the government and people of Ghana’, the report said. They do ‘not reflect honest business ethics between parties’, the report goes on. The history of those relations show ‘serious ethical professional deficiencies’ with the result that ‘the engagements have to be carefully and deliberately reviewed’.
President Nana Akufo-Addo inherited this situation when he beat Mahama in the general election of December 2016. Instead of blaming the scandal on his predecessor, he has chosen to leave the contracts as they stand while friends and officials of his New Patriotic Party (NPP) take up posts with MPS.
Akufo-Addo faced Mahama, standing for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) once again in December 2020’s general election, and again, the topic of the Tema deal did not come up in campaigning. The two men appeared to observe a pact of silence on this and several other instances of alleged bad governance and corruption, GIJN reports.
Ghanaians have been reacting to the story das after it went online:
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