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Inflated Dollar-Cedi exchange rate rot engulf ECG management:GH₵80 million gets missing every month

Ghana, once a beacon of hope in West Africa, is grappling with an unseen enemy – not on its borders, but within its power grid, forcing some gatekeepers like Ben Boakye of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) to scream out loud.

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), meant to be the lifeblood of the nation’s stability and progress, has morphed into an albatross, a symbol of inefficiency and alleged corruption strangling the country’s development.

The result is that, whilst the citizens have been left grappling with an unreliable power supply, managers are reaping undeserved fortunes living in plush houses and driving luxurious cars like Arabian princes from an oil-rich country.

The rot began in 2019 with the PDS scandal, a failed attempt to privatize ECG amid allegations of undue influence from President Nana Akufo-Addo’s family.

Far from resolving the issue, the aftermath saw familiar faces allegedly implicated in the scandal back in control, this time with direct influence.

The result: a company haemorrhaging funds, with accusations swirling that the benefits are not reaching the people, but are funnelled to a select few with ties to the presidency.

Ghana’s Ministry of Finance, in a desperate bid to keep the lights on, is reportedly pumping a staggering GH¢300 million into the power sector every month.

This lifeline, intended to illuminate homes and businesses, seems to be illuminating something far more sinister – the alleged abuse of power by the very people entrusted with the nation’s electricity.

The ACEP boss, Benjamin Boakye, a respected Energy Expert, last Saturday, March 2, 2024, exposed a scheme that drips with suspicion on Joy FM’s Newsfile and X formerly twitter.

ECG, it appears, to be buying dollars at a grotesquely inflated rate of GH₵13.95, when the market rate at the time hovered around GH₵11.5.

This deliberate manipulation of exchange rates, translates to a staggering GH₵80 million loss for ECG every month!

Mr Boakye on X, had tagged the Bank of Ghana, saying its “Exchange rate in October 2023 was less than GHS11.5 to the $ and commercial Banks ~GHS12. (But) ECG was buying the $ @GHS13.95, creating exchange losses above GHS80 million in one month for buying $43m. We will trend exchange losses for a year and report”.

The Herald, has confirmed from insiders at the presidency and industry people familiar with the situation that this has become a regular practice identified by the Cash Waterfall Mechanism (CWM) Committee of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC). Until recently, the CWM was under the Office of the Vice President.

Even more galling, the black market rate at the time was significantly lower than the one ECG was allegedly paying.

This raises a burning question: who, in their right mind, would approve such a deal, especially when using public funds?

The answer, Ghanaians on social media are fuming, points directly to the leadership of ECG and the indirect beneficiaries- the President and his family. Calls for accountability have reached a fever pitch, with accusations of “deliberate siphoning” of public resources echoing across the nation.

But amidst the public outcry, the key players – Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, and the Managing Director of ECG, Dubik Mahama – seem unfazed.

Mahama’s position, some allege, is a direct consequence of the failed PDS deal, a way for the President and his family to maintain control over ECG through a proxy.

The situation is dire. Ghanaians are not just struggling with unreliable power, but with the gnawing suspicion that their own government is the source of the darkness. This is not just an economic crisis, but a crisis of trust.

Will President Akufo-Addo address these allegations and bring transparency to the ECG saga? Or will Ghana continue to stumble in the dark, its path illuminated only by the anger of its citizens? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: Ghanaians are demanding answers, and the lights need to be turned on – not just on the nation, but on those allegedly manipulating the system for personal gain.

Meanwhile, reports suggest PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Ghana an Audit & Assurance, Advisory and Tax services to company tasked by the government of Ghana to check if the under-pressure state electricity utility, ECG, is handling its finances properly, has since last year been struggling to get data from ECG.

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