Government of Ghana says it is not bothered by reports that Umar Farooq Zahoor, the Pakistani-Norwegian who witnessed the $510 million power deal between Ghana and AMERI Energy group is an alleged criminal and is being wanted by Interpol and the Norwegian Police.
According to the Deputy Minister of Communications, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, government would have had cause for concern if His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum who owns the entity AMERI Energy with whom they signed the contract rather had a criminal record.
The deal which will eventually see government of Ghana owning ten gas turbines after five years of operation by AMERI was signed by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum for the AMERI Energy group and witnessed by Umar Farooq Zahoor, while Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor and Deputy Attorney General, Dr Dominic Ayine initialled for the Republic of Ghana.
The Norwegian newspaper VG reported that Umar Farooq Zahoor is now a well-known name among investigators at the Financial Crime Section of the Oslo Police District: Pakistani-Norwegian Umar Farooq Zahoor.
As early as 2013, Deputy Chief of Police for Oslo Gro Smogeli singled out Zahoor as a ringleader of one of Norway’s boldest and biggest bank frauds ever; the so-called Nordea Swindle.
The Borgarting Court of Appeal announced its unanimous verdict on 26 November confirming reasonable grounds to suspect the 40-year-old of fraud, as part of organized criminal activity subject to Norway’s mafia activities paragraph.
The Pakistani-Norwegian is also wanted for running a fake bank in Switzerland.
However speaking to Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.3 FM, Hon. Felix Kwakye Ofosu stated that government does not see why it must be worried over the reported criminal record of someone who witnessed the contract, not for Ghana but rather AMERI.
“As I speak, this report remains a mere allegation. The government of Norway has not told Ghana government formally or informally that it is looking for the man for committing economic crimes. This is purely a matter between the Norwegian government and Umar Farooq Zahoor if they think he has committed any crime the laws of Norway will deal with him.
He added: “AMERI Energy group if they have people who act on their behalf, and it turns out that such persons have questions to answer in Norway, that does not vitiate the contract we have with AMERI. The principal actor in AMERI with whom we have a contract is Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, who is very clean.”
Felix Kwakye Ofosu also denied claims that government failed to conduct due diligence on AMERI Energy group.
“We had four levels of due diligence done on AMERI. Bank of Ghana did its own checks; JP Morgan confirmed Letter of Credit worth $51 dollars, Ministry of Power and Parliament also conducted their inquiries and satisfied themselves that we were dealing with a credible entity. As I speak they have delivered, go to Aboadze, and you’ll see that the commissioning is being done to test the capacity of the plant to deliver power.”