African and Middle East Resources Investment Company (Ameri Group LLC) has defended the character of its former Chief Executive, Umar Farooq Zahoor.
This follows a publication by Norwegian newspaper VG that Mr Farooq Zahoor was a criminal on Interpol’s wanted list. Mr Farooq witnessed a power purchase deal between the Government of Ghana and AMERI.
The revelation of his alleged criminality has led critics in Ghana questioning the integrity of the deal. The paper also reported that Ghana could have bought the 225-MW turbines at $220 million rather than the $510 million Build, Operate, Own, and Transfer (BOOT) deal reached between the two parties.
In a rebuttal statement issued by H. H. Ahmed Bin Dalmook Bin Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Chairman of Ameri Group LLC, the Dubai energy firm said: “The tabloid article targets Mr. Umar Farooq, [not] only wrongly portraying him as the owner of the company, but also tries to malign his character.”
It described as “ridiculous” the paper’s claim that Mr Farooq Zahoor “attempted to swindle the Government of Ghana through this transaction by inflating the price of the contract.”
AMERI said it found the allegation absurd “since the contract was agreed upon by the Ministry of Power and, thereafter, ratified by the Ghana Parliament with full pricing transparency.”
“Another falsehood is that Mr. Farooq, on his own, caused the transaction to occur. It is a matter of record that the sole owner of the above mentioned company is His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai UAE.
“Umar Farooq, [who] served as CEO of Ameri Group until August 2015, was never a shareholder nor a partner in the company. Mr. Farooq resigned as CEO in order to pursue other bigger business opportunities. Mr. Ziad Barakat was appointed as CEO of the company and has been working in this position to date.
Concerning VG’s claim that Mr. Farooq was wanted by Norwegian authorises for fraudulent crimes he allegedly committed in 2010, AMERI said “Mr. Farooq was residing in Dubai as a legal resident since 2005 and had not been to Norway since.”
“In fact, the person the tabloid interviewed, who has accused him has already been convicted of the same fraud by the courts in Norway, and is currently in jail. During the tenure of his employment, Mr Farooq was never wanted or accused of any crime/fraud in any part of the world,” AMERI added.
Read the full statement below:
AMERI GROUP LLC REJECTS FALSE AND MALICIOUS CLAIM MADE BY VG OF NORWAY AND REMAINS CONFIDENT IN ITS BUSINESS
Ameri Group LLC duly incorporated under the laws of United Arab Emirates with a registration number 1143904 and also registered with the Chamber of Commerce of Dubai UAE under membership number 240056 with office address at Emgate Building Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai UAE signed a BOOT agreement with the Government of Ghana on February 10th 2015 for a 250 MW fast-track power project at Takoradi. Ameri Group LLC is solely owned by His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai UAE. Ameri Group LLC develops energy projects on the continent of Africa and elsewhere. Recently, Ameri Group was contracted to supply emergency power to the Government of Ghana.
An article published by a tabloid called VG, from Norway, made false and slanderous accusations regarding the emergency power project agreement executed between Ameri Group and the Government of Ghana. Ameri Group stands by its agreements with the Government of Ghana and believes that we have assembled a world class team of developers to accomplish the job on time and on budget. Joining us on the project is the Greek EPC Contractor, METKA.
The tabloid article targets Mr Umar Farooq, not only wrongly portraying him as the owner of the company, but also tries to malign his character. Moreover, it states that Mr. Farooq attempted to swindle the Government of Ghana through this transaction by inflating the price of the contract. A ridiculous claim since the contract was agreed upon by the Ministry of Power and thereafter, ratified by the Ghana Parliament with full pricing transparency.
Another falsehood is that Mr. Farooq, on his own caused the transaction to occur. It is a matter of record that the sole owner of the abovementioned company is His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai UAE.
The VG story also purports that this transaction was done quickly and out of the public view, yet as the record shows the above mentioned agreement was duly signed on 10th of February 2015 between Ameri Group LLC, represented by His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, in his capacity as Chairman, and the Minister of Power, the Honorable Dr. Kwabena Donkor, for the Government of Ghana. Mr. Farooq simply signed the agreement as a witness.
Mr. Umar Farooq served as CEO of Ameri Group until August 2015, but was neither a shareholder nor a partner in the company. Mr. Farooq resigned as CEO in order to pursue other bigger business opportunities. Mr. Ziad Barakat was appointed as CEO of the company and has been working in this position to date.
The article in VG shows that allegations against Mr. Farooq were raised in Norway of some fraud which was committed in 2010. This is patently false as, in 2010, Mr. Farooq was residing in Dubai as a legal resident since 2005 and had not been to Norway since. In fact, the person the tabloid interviewed who has accused him has already been convicted of the same fraud by the courts in Norway and is currently in jail. During the tenure of his employment, Mr. Farooq was never wanted or alleged of any crime/fraud in any part of the world.
Moreover, the tabloid alleges that Mr. Umar Farooq, through the above agreement, has managed to siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars by selling the project to the Government of Ghana at a highly inflated price. In fact as the Government of Ghana has already publicly stated: “The Ministry wishes to state that the agreement with AMERI is a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement and not an outright purchase of generating plants” as the article falsely claims. In fact, the Ghana statement goes on to say, “The Government of Ghana has not made ANY PAYMENTS to AMERI and will not be making any payments for the cost of the equipment”. Ameri Group has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars as direct foreign investment in Ghana, which will be operational before the end of 2015. The Government of Ghana will only pay for the electricity produced and received on the national grid.
In response to these allegations, Ameri Group has already retained international law firms to review our legal rights and use them against this slanderous act of the newspaper. Based on their legal advice we will reserve all rights to file a defamation case against VG in Norway on the basis of these unfounded false allegations and accusations.
The UAE government enjoys a cordial relationship with Ghana and its people, and as evidence to that have invested hundreds of millions of dollars as direct foreign investment in the country. Following the same footsteps, Ameri Group was encouraged to invest in setting up a brand new power plant for the Government of Ghana to overcome the energy crises the country is going through.
This project that we have almost completed will make a difference to the common Ghanaian people, enhancing the life of everyday people who are currently stranded being unable to run their business because of the lack of energy. Having this electric power coming onstream will also contribute to the economic growth of Ghana and further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
The UAE government hosts a number of conferences specifically to promote the African continent to the rest of the world. There has also been increased traffic between UAE and Ghana in the past few years, which is a clear sign of both countries respecting each other’s nationals. We would never enter into a deal if it was not done with full transparency and honesty to ensure our integrity.
I, as member of the Royal Family of Dubai, will continue to follow my Government’s policies looking into opportunities that would help and support the cause and uplift the lot of the common man by creating job opportunities. Moreover, Ameri Group and its subsidiaries, reserve the rights to protect its business through every means available to it, including taking any legal action towards anyone who tries to malign its business or its goodwill. Dubai, December 15, 2015.
H. H. Ahmed Bin Dalmook Bin Juma Al Maktoum
Member of the Ruling Family of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Chairman of Ameri Group LLC.
Tel.: 97143262228, Fax.: 97143262262, Emgate Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE E-mail: email@example.com, www.amerigroup.ae