Bolloré runs 18 ports in West Africa. The most recent to open is Tema, a high-tech facility some 25km from the capital Accra, which serves the hinterland of Burkina Faso and Mali. It is operated in a 70% joint-owned venture between the Government of Ghana and Meridian Port Services (MPS) (itself a joint venture between Bolloré Transport and Logistics and APM Terminals)
The London-based newspaper Africa Confidential says that a secret February 2018 report delivered to Ghanaian ministers showed the terms of the agreements between MPS and the state were so tilted against Ghana’s interests, “they should be renegotiated immediately. Yet the much-criticised contracts remain unchanged.”
The report details the manner in which Bolloré and its partners reduced the amount received by the Ghana government in a ‘no tender’ bid, winning $832m of tax holidays by overstating planned investment by twice the amount, and ‘surreptitiously’ cutting the Ghana government equity in the deal from 30% to 15% among other things.
According to Africa Confidential: “The terms under which MPS operates the new terminal were ‘gravely detrimental to the government and people of Ghana’, the report said. They do ‘not reflect honest business ethics between parties’, the report goes on. The history of those relations show ‘serious ethical professional deficiencies’ with the result that ‘the engagements have to be carefully and deliberately reviewed’.”
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