Minister Exposed Over Afriwave Deal


Felix Kwakye Ofosu



The controversy over the award of a monopoly licence to Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited by the National Communications Authority (NCA)  to operate interconnect clearing house (ICH) for telecom companies in the country has taken a new twist, with a revelation that the NCA purported evaluation report was unsigned.

The report, which was in the possession of a deputy Minister of Communications, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, on Saturday during Joy Fm’s ‘News File’ programme, appeared to have no signatories of the members of the Application Evaluation Panel headed by Albert E. Enninful, deepening the suspicion that the bid process was cooked for Afriwave.

Policy think-tank IMANI Ghana had indicated that the processes leading to the award of the licence to Afriwave were riddled with fraud.

According to IMANI, the Application Evaluation Panel that looked into the capabilities of five companies that had put in bids to manage the ICH platform rigged the process in favour of Afriwave. The companies were Afriwave, Subah Infosolutions, Prodigy International Limited, TCMS-GVG Consortium Limited and Channel IT Ghana Limited.

“This whole process was rigged to guarantee a perverted outcome that can be seen from the remarks of the panel in various parts of the report,” IMANI claimed, adding, “The Panel manipulated its own scoring scheme to ensure that Afriwave came on top, regardless of the actual results; and they did so with brazenness that is almost farcical.”

But the NCA says there were ‘some transpositional errors’ that led to some of the bidders scoring high marks during the assessment process but it was later ‘corrected.’

Interestingly, however, the NCA’s new ‘corrected’ report, based on which Afriwave was said to have won the contract on a silver platter, had no signatures, according to Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh (popularly called Napo), MP for Manhyia South who was on the programme with Kwakye Ofosu.

According to Napo, the document being bandied about by the deputy minister was without signature, making its credibility highly suspicious.

Strangely, the report of the Application Evaluation Panel (AEP) which IMANI quoted from and Kwakye Ofosu described as fabricated and non-existent, rather has signatures of all the eight panel members and accepted by the NCA Board. The report was received and the recommendations were accepted by the NCA Board chaired by Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie.

 

The Manhyia South MP believes that the whole process was fraught with fraud and should be cancelled. “There is no contract as it stands now,” he told DAILY GUIDE yesterday.


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He explained that apart from the absence of a regulatory framework to guide the process, the six months’ provisional licence granted Afriwave had long expired. “The whole thing should start again,” he charged.

According to Napo, it was absurd to start a process and after 11 months come to say that you needed a legislation to govern the operation of ICH.

 

OccupyGhana’s Demand

With the deepening controversy over the Afriwave deal, pressure group OccupyGhana believes that the matter can be put to rest if all documents about the deal are put out for public examination. The group has written to the Director-General of NCA requesting for copies of the documents that the Authority relied on to award the licence to Afriwave.

 

In the letter, OccupyGhana specifically requested the individual panel members’ reports on the tender and minutes of the board meeting that approved the tender for Afriwave.

 

“We are asking for these in the exercise of our right to information under Article 21(1) (f) of the Constitution,” the letter, signed by Ing. Nana Sarpong Agyeman-Badu for OccupyGhana, stated.

 

A DAILY GUIDE Report


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