By Pascal Kafu Abotsi ([email protected])
The controversial Inter Connect House (ICH) contract which has been awarded to Afriwave Telecom by the National Communications Authority (NCA) is getting murkier and more fascinating, with a latest submission from the government side to, perhaps, zip the mouths of their critics, unfortunately hitting the rocks.
The Ministry of Communications is battling Imani Ghana, after it had put the tendering process to question, with a fake document.
The ICH contract is primarily hinged on revenue assurance, where international calls would be monitored to ensure that the taxes collected from telecom operators, actually correlate with the air time used by their subscribers.
And in this undertaking, Afriwave is expected to generate at least one billion United States Dollars over the next 10 years.
A document, a copy of which is in the possession of The Chronicle, shows that the selection process for the award of the ICH contract was fraught with rigging and this means that Afriwave Telecom, one of the five telecom operators which sought the bid, shouldn’t have been declared the winner. For example, page 32 of the report put the company’s financial strength to doubt.
Policy Think tank, Imani Ghana, deepened the nefarious activities of the NCA with its revelation that the scores awarded all the competing companies in three main categories– Legal & Management, Technical Capabilities and Financial Capabilities –indicated that Afriwave Telecom scored more than the maximum awarded marks.
But the National Communications Authority and the Ministry of Communications would still have reason to believe that the documents being relied upon by Imani, had been fabricated, although they could not make public, the authentic one.
Last Saturday, on Accra-based Joy FM’s News File show, the person of the Deputy Minister for Communications, Felix Ofosu Kwakye, was a re-definition of embarrassment and mockery, after it was established by panel member, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, that a document he claimed was authentic and which had given him the guts to make nonsense of the one made public by Policy think tank, Imani, had not been signed.
This was at the disbelief of other panellists, including Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide Newspaper, Mr. Malik Kweku Baako, who were thrown into uncontrollable laughter, after the expose’.
But Mr. Ofosu Kwakye would not budge, as he thought the least intellect on the show would buy into his insistence that, “there is one document presented to the board which is signed.”
The need for signatures to confirm the veracity of the NCA report must have become necessary here, as a result of NCA’s complete denial of portions of the document in the public sphere, simply because the said pages had not been signed.
For example, a Metro Television reporter, quoting page 11 of the report, merely wanted to know why some marks awarded to Afriwave Telecom had exceeded the maximum score during the recent press conference, only for his question to be received with a draconian reaction: “The page you are reading, has it been signed?…that means it cannot be a true document.” And that was the secretary to the Application Evaluation Panel, Mr. Edmund Fiako.
Meanwhile, the document in the possession of Imani Ghana, which Mr. Ofosu Kwakye described on News File as ‘fabricated’, had been duly signed by all members of the Application Evaluation Panel (AEP) — the panel constituted to make recommendations for the award of the ICH contract. Again, the report had been assented to, by the Board Chairman of the NCA, Mr. Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie.
The same could not be said about the document, with which the Deputy Communications Minister thought he could mislead his fellow well-crafted panellists.
“Mr. Kwakye, but the document, as Dr. Prempeh has noticed, has not been signed. Can you say this is authentic, even though it has not been signed?” And that was the host of the show, Samson Lardi Anyenini.
Felix Ofosu Kwakye still maintained his earlier position, while disregarding the one in the public domain.
Mr. Kweku Baako, remaining unconvinced by Mr. Kwakye’s unsupported commentary, chided the government for not being transparent with the tendering process, which saw Afriwave Telecom winning the ICH contract.
He made reference to an e-mail presented at last week’s press conference concerning a conversation between one of the panel members, Mr. Derrick Appiah and secretary to the board, Mr. Edmund Fianko, where the issue of transpositional error was raised.
“That is not the way to inform the population. The public needs information. They ought to be transparent by presenting the authentic document,” he said, further asking rhetorically, “Who did the fabrication? Where did it come from? The signatures and the comment by the board chairman, are these also fabrications?”
Mr. Baako called for a forensic investigation to get into the bottom of the matter. He said: “The document raises issues of credibility and integrity deficit…now with the signatures on Imani’s document…Does it mean somebody manipulated and put them there? Perhaps, we need forensic investigation into this matter.”