AMERI Sue VG $150 Million Over Ghana Power Deal


The Africa Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) Group has sued the Norwegian newspaper Verdans Gang AS for $150 million over reports of alleged fraud that the company engaged in relative to the supply of 10 gas turbines to the Government of Ghana (GoG)

The charges of defamation according to AMERI’s lawyers were over “incessant and relentless defamatory campaign against a fair and transparent business deal between our Client and the Government of Ghana for the procurement, installation and operation of ten gas turbines on Build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis.”

The 20 point suit in large portions provides a detailed sequence of events since VG broke the ‘alleged fraudulent’ story about a week ago. It goes on to clarify most of the issues that the paper raised and to absolve itself same from the vicious allegations.

AMERI’s three reliefs are that, the newspaper should withdraw its defamatory campaign and publicly apologize in print and online. They also seek a total of $150 million for the initiation of legal proceedings and also for damages including loss of business reputation.

AMERI are represented by Pakistani lawyers, Muhammad Umer Riaz Law Associates. They issued the defamation suit on Saturday December 19, 2015 with service directed at the Chief Editor of the newspaper.

Below is the full defamation suit
LEGAL NOTICE FOR A DEFAMATORY CAMPAIGN AGAINST AMERI GROUP

1. We act for and on behalf of Africa Middle East Resources Investment Group (AMERI Group) — hereinafter referred to as “our Client”, who has instructed us to serve upon you this legal notice for commencing an incessant and relentless defamatory campaign against a fair and transparent business deal between our Client and the Government of Ghana for the procurement, installation and operation of ten gas turbines on Build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis.

2. At the outset, it is brought to your knowledge that out Client is a diversified privately held group of companies with businesses in different countries across the globe, including Norway, UAE and Pakistan. The Group is active in the fields of Energy, Infrastructure, construction and trade; and has partnerships and associations to help execute its business efficiently and successfully.

3. Our Client, at its core, is a developer, investor, co-owner and operator of power plants, energy and infrastructure projects in different parts of the world. Its expertise in the energy space includes power generation from gas, coal, renewables to Oil & Gas; and is active at all stages of the energy value chain. Further, our Client, through its subsidiaries, works closely with its partners to deliver the innovative and most reliable energy solutions efficiently, within budget, and on time.

4. Most of all, Our Client’s business dealings are based on trust, integrity, and transparency; and it commits to its word, and delivers what its promises. Timing is the essence of its dealings. Good governance and due diligence are the hallmarks of our Client.

5. The group is headed by His Royal Highness Shaikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of the ruling family of UAE and he also enjoys diplomatic status of his country; and includes a highly professional team of executives with tremendous market experience and business skills from all across the world, including an Former Ambassador At Large for the Government of Pakistan, Dr. Nasir Ali Khan; and Former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who is rendering services as consultant to the group.

6. That notwithstanding the afore-mentioned and the excellent business reputation of our Client, you have, in a series of articles published in your tabloid newspaper and also available on your website, accused our Client of the following regarding the afore-mentioned contract dated 10th Feb, 2015:- a. Mr. Umar Farooq from Oslo, who allegedly is wanted for fraud in Norway, had signed an agreement with Government of Ghana. b. That the acquisition/outright purchase of ten gas turbines would usually sell for 220 million dollars; whereas, our Client has been paid 510 million dollars. Similar deal by METKA of Greece and Government of Ghana costed about 350 million US dollars; in another deal where General Electric sold eight identical turbines to the state Energy company in Algeria, for 161 million US dollars, at the rate of 20 million US dollars; c. Why weren’t the manufacturers of these plants, General Electric, contacted to negotiate a direct purchase? d. That this deal was done quickly and out of public view to benefit the selected few. e. Our Client has apparently achieved spectacular success in a very short period of time; and the website of our Client (www.amerigroup.ae) was created two months before the multi-million dollar contract was signed with Government of Ghana. f. That four months after our Client made the deal with Ghana, the company is still not listed on the list of tenants in the office building of Dubai; and that employees in other business in the same building have never heard about the company

7. It is emphatically and forcefully stated herein that none of the afore-mentioned allegations are even remotely correct, or even close to reality existing on the ground and to the contrary are put to the strict proof thereto. It is indeed ironical and inexplicable that why your tabloid newspaper would be interested in a deal struck thousands of miles away from Norway; and in which the State or people of Norway would have no interest whatsoever, either economically, financially or socially.

8. A bare perusal of these slanderous and poorly authored articles from tabloid newspaper and your website goes on to show that the management of your newspaper has some old scores to settle with the ex-CEO of our Client, Mr. Umar Farooq; and our Client has just been caught in the act. In this regard, your articles on the one hand state that the instant contract related to acquisition/outright purchase of ten gas turbines; and on the other hand admit that it is based on Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT). This contradiction can never be reconciled, even by a person having a text-book knowledge of BOOT projects and the projects of outright purchase/supply of equipment; and thus leaves a lot to be desired and indicates that there is more from your side than meets the eye.

9. It is brought into your knowledge that BOOT is a form of project financing, wherein a private entity receives a concession from the private or public sector to finance, design, construct, and operate a facility stated in the concession contract. This enables the project proponent to recover its investment, operating and maintenance expenses in the project over the Contract period. Such projects provide for the infrastructure to be transferred to the government at the end of the concession period.

10. The instant deal, it is emphatically stated, is not an outright purchase of these gas turbines; but is a BOOT deal. The recital of this agreement, in this regard, stipulates that “AMERI Group has agreed to install 10 new GE TM 2500+ aero derivative gas turbines, (and to) operate, maintain, and transfer (the) same in good and operable condition and provide the support services on the terms, and subject to the conditions, set forth in this agreement.” The Clause 7(a) of the agreement further states that “The transactions contemplated by this agreement constitute a build, own, operate and Transfer of the AMERI ENGERY Equipment by AMERI ENGERY to the GoG”. Similarly, the Clause 8, while stipulating our Client’s obligations under the agreement, states that its obligations, inter alia, would include to “deliver, install, and commission the EMERI ENGERY Equipment…… “operate, maintain and repair the AMERI ENGERY Equipment ……” etc.

11. In consideration of the installation, operation and maintenance of the equipment and provision of services thereof, the Government of Ghana would be obliged to make payments to our Client on monthly basis, inter alia, for the power produced and supplied, as per the Clause 10 of the agreement, at the rates stipulated therein. Further, after the contract term of five years, the plants in operating conditions would be transferred to the Government of Ghana.


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