The Cancer of Corruption: What $150million Gets You In Ghana. 8


This is the Zakhem power station site at Kpone. The particularly distincitive feature is the lack of any power station.

I am grateful to CitiFM in Accra. Having been misled into publishing photos of a completely different power station, they have had the grace to apologise and publish a corrected story.

Unfortunately their original photos of a completely different site, nothing to do with Zakhem, were seized on and re-used by almost the entire Ghanaian media as evidence that I was talking nonsense.

My favourite recent news headline was “Craig Murray is Not In His Right State of Mind”.

Zakhem are loudly threatening to sue me. They make the following key points:

– Zakhem Construction Ghana is a separate company from Zakhem International Construction Ltd of London

– They have received only 39.5 million dollars to date towards the turbine installation

– They have carried out a good deal of work including engineering design, land clearance, construction of perimeter wall, and 40% of the procurement of balance of plant

– Work was delayed by a change of site

My information on some of these points differs. But none of that alters the fundamentals. The Government of Ghana bought the turbines direct from Alsthom. Zakhem were to install them and provide the balance of plant. They have been paid tens of millions of dollars upfront, starting over three years ago, but have never even started digging the foundations, nor supplied the key components they were paid to procure, including transformers and fuel tanks.

Ordinary people, some of them struggling below the poverty line, pay taxes in Ghana, particularly through VAT. Over a hundred million dollars of their tax has already gone forever into the power station pictured above. There is no sign of them getting any benefit for their money. Meanwhile Zakhem and former government functionary Paul Afoko have pocketed millions.

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8 thoughts on “The Cancer of Corruption: What $150million Gets You In Ghana.

  • Stevie

    Brilliant Craig. If you read the comments under the article “Craig Murray is Not In His Right State of Mind” you will see that they are all in support of you.

  • dreoilin

    “Zakhem are loudly threatening to sue me”

    Excellent. That generally works out very well for you.

  • chris, glasgow

    Let me get this straight, Zakhem have been paid $39.5 million dollars out of a total of $91 million dollars to install the turbines bought from Alstom and haven’t built anything other than a big concrete wall. If that is the case then that is a lots of money for not a lot of work!!! They have said that all the stacks, transformers etc have been purchased. Although I would have thought they wouldn’t have paid fully for them until they arrived on site and were inspected? That is normal practice, you may pay something to secure the contract but not all up front, sounds a bit dodgy to me.

    Also when you think that standard engineering design costs and site inspection for a project like that are usually around 10% of the total build (for all disciplines) then that spend figure looks even worse.

  • Craig


    Yes, basically. And they haven’t been able to make the transformers etc available for customer required factory inspection.

  • chris, glasgow

    Are the turbines ready for delivery? I can’t imagine Altsom holding onto them when past the delivery date.

    It also seems a bit reckless of the Ghanian Government to be paying out for everything at the start of the contract. I have seen design fees and some construction costs being paid for up front in some middle eastern countries but not everything. Also when they do pay for work up front there are usually heavy penalties added into the contact so that if they don’t meet the proposed time scales they can get some of their money back. Upfront fees tend to be an incentive to produce a quick turn around of work but are not usual practice. All sounds like your typical corrupt african officials at work here. It’s a pity as I have a friend who works in Ghana and he was saying that on the whole the construction industry is progressing really well over there.

  • Craig


    The turbines and generators were delivered by Alstom 2 years ago – (purchased separately by government of Ghana – not part of Zakhem contract). They are sitting in an outdoor government storage yard.

  • chris, glasgow

    That is shocking! Although the problem there is that there was a seperate contract for the turbines. In mostly all of the power stations that I have worked on there has either been only one main contractor with the rest of the work is sub contracted or there is a joint venture which invloves manufacturer and contractor working together. The risks tend to be less for the client but it is generally more expensive (although not as expensive as what has happened here!). What has happened is terrible and I guess the underlying corruption within the system of government in Africa is still really prosperous. Also there are a many construction companies out there who are quite happy to exploit corruption for a quick profit. My experience with most construction companies is that they are run by people obsessed with money without any morals. It’s patheitic!!

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