- Story:Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
The Board Chairman of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Peter Mac Manu has vehemently denied reports making the rounds of his alleged involvement in US$1.5 million concession agreement with Meridian Port Service (MPS) Limited.
According to the reports, the Board Chairman has misconducted himself in the breaches of conflict of interest and outright bias in the scandalous US$1.5 million concession agreement with the MPS.
The information was reported to have emanated from the GPHA workers’ quarters and had it that although Mr Mac Manu is still their Board Chairman yet has crossed carpet to also serve on the MPS’ board, which to them will compromise his stand as the referee between the two organisations.
However, the former chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in response described the allegation as ‘dirty plot’ being calculated and promulgated by the faceless workers, which he says there is no iota of truth in it.
Mr Mac Manu, nevertheless, in a telephone interview explained that per the agreement signed between the Ghana Government and MPS, the GHPA is to have two representatives on the board of MPS because it has 30 percent stake to protect.
According to him, the agreement was legally sealed by the two entities under the leadership of Richard A.Y. Anamoo, former Director General of MPS and Mohammed Samara, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MPS on June 12, 2015.
A one-page agreement document sight by The Chronicle, clearly depicts the former Board Chairman of GPHA, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and two other persons from the MPS side as witnesses and attorney to the signing.
He added that the Government of Ghana through GHPA in 2015 negotiated the 35 years contractual agreement with the MPS for the development and operationalisation of a multipurpose container terminal at the Tema Port.
The deal aimed at creating a deeper vessel capacity with an accompanying container storage facility as part of the government effort to position Ghana’s ports as an attractive hub within the West African sub-region.
In the light of this, Mr Mac Manu further refuted the workers’ claim that he was lobbying the presidency for the US$ 1.5 billion MPS deal to be left unchanged, saying “the US$1.5 billion agreement was signed by the previous Board Directors of GPHA under the chairmanship of Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, so we cannot just correct any anomaly on the MPS agreement.
“So what is this allegation that Mac Manu fingered in MPS deal?”
To him, his critics and the workers are just throwing the dusts into the eyes of well-meaning Ghanaians of him practicing illegality.
The one-time election director of the NPP stressed that he is a law abiding citizen, who is working hard to contribute his portion to the socio-economic development of the country and the citizens at large, therefore, no one should take the report serious.
Mr Manu simply responded to critics that he has not compromised his position as the Board Chairman of GHPA or whatsoever to accept any request to serve on the board of MPS, thereby treating the public to ignore such accusations and should treat them as a fallacy.
Clearing the air, he said his reason to serve on the MPS’ board was based legal grounds, reiterating that the GPHA has 30 per-cent shares in MPS to protect, therefore, it was bidding on them to have two appointees on the company’s board.
“So if the shareholders of GPHA have decided to put me on the board of MPS, then where lies in the conflict of interest here?” he asked.
“The GPHA workers have always had one representation on the GPHA board as per the GPHA Act, (PNDC Law 160,1986) and was present in June 2015 when the then Board Chairman of GPHA, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo who is now National Chairman of NDC signed the concessional agreement. The workers didn’t utter a word then until 2019. One may ask why the long silence in that regard?
“This was done under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government so it is not a new policy being designed under the current NPP administration,” he said.
He said the reportage was a mischief planned to dent his hard achieved reputation.
It would be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently announce preparations towards renegotiation relevant portions of the agreement after meeting representatives of the workers.