The government of Ghana is currently facing widespread criticism over the loss of USD $170 million and an undisclosed amounts paid to international law firms in a failed attempt to defend a judgment debt against the country by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
The West African country was fined by a London-based arbitral tribunal to pay a judgment debt worth USD $170 million to an independent power producer after the company’s contract was canceled against the agreed terms. According to the tribunal, the said award covers “early termination, payment together with Mobilization, Demobilization and preservation and maintenance costs,”
In a bid to help reverse the offer, the government hired Omnia Strategy LLP, a law firm which belongs to Mrs. Cherie Blair, wife of former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The name of Mrs. Cherie Blair popped up following controversies surrounding the case. The duty of her firm was to make a case for an extension for the Ghanaian government to refile an appeal after initially failing to meet a deadline set by the tribunal. This attempt failed woefully, wasting taxpayer’s money.
Currently, the issue has turned into a blame game with the authorities running away from taking responsibility for the financial loss suffered by the state and the average taxpayer. The citizens are widely pinpointing and blaming some known officials. Whilst the current administration which canceled the agreement prematurely leading to the judgment debt faces most of the criticisms, lead members of the current administration are also shifting the blame to the former administration.
Even though the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame has emerged as one of the most accused people, in this case, he has hinted of a possible prosecution after full investigation into the matter. “I have indicated that first and foremost, we are going to refer part of the process for examination by the CID [Criminal Investigations Department of the Police], and that inquiry will even establish whether it was necessary for the agreement to be entered into, whether indeed it was expensive,” he said, adding that, “I would be enjoined by duty to prosecute…. to ensure that there is due administration of justice in the country. This has nothing to do with any personalities or characters in question.”
The conversation as monitored by EyeGambia in the West African country has however taken a different twist. Political thinkers are beginning to connect the dots on the Former UK prime minister’s operations and his family on the African continent.
Earlier on, we reported on Tony Blair, the man who whispers to African leaders. The former UK Prime Minister has been very busy on the African continent before and after ‘escaping’ from the political space of the United Kingdom. His overly busy activities on the continent earned him the title, “the man who whispers to African leaders,” but what exactly does he tell them?
As the Prime Minister, Blair had the opportunity to build networks with the various heads of states in Africa and also established playing grounds for his foundations and business networks which he later intensified after his term as Prime Minister ended. He declined the existing honor of elevation to the House of Lords coupled with its attached benefits, obviously, to focus on his businesses, especially those in Africa.
With a full flare business organization which first started as a charity known as the Faith Foundation and the Africa Governance Initiative, which was later converted into the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI), the former prime Minister manages an operation with which he provides services to top leadership of countries, particularly African leaders.
With the help of cells referred to as the “delivery units” mostly consisting of young graduates and international experts strategically positioned at the heart of African governments, as deep as the office of the President, Ministries or top government agencies, Blair executes his agenda of rendering advisory services to governments in terms of priority projects, funding, how to attract investors, business partnerships, etc.
He has over the years been a regular customer to the likes of Liberia’s George Weah, Adama Barrow of The Gambia, The Gambia, Macky Sall of Senegal, among others, earning good undisclosed amounts after successfully selling his business to African states. He advised the Guinean government in 2018 to raise funds from China to construct the Kaleta dam worth between $446 million — 412 million euros and the Souapiti dam worth $1.4 billion-1.3 billion euros.
The former UK Prime Minister has faced numerous criticisms including the adoption of diversionary tactics redirecting attention to the positives of the government any time there is a major concern with tendency to expose governments under contract with his outfit. Moreover, there has been claims of the abuse of his organization’s popularity and well-connected links, by way of adopting mafia tactics to secure contracts from African leaders or make things ‘difficult’ for them if deals fail.
Additionally, many people are of the view that depending on the advice of a foreign organization such as the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) to determine priority projects is error-ridden as the definition of “priority” may not reflect the true socio-economic realities of the countries involved.
However, the TBI denied those allegations, stating that, it only offers advisory support without getting directly involved in national affairs. Do you think the former Prime Minister’s relationship with African leaders influenced her wife’s contract with Ghana in any way?