Policy analysis think-tank IMANI Ghana says it has identified what it called ‘key discrepancies’ in the evaluation report released by the National Communications Authority (NCA) as the authentic document in the never-ending Afriwave contract saga.
According to IMANI President Franklin Cudjoe, the new report of the NCA has been designed to cover-up and justify its award of the controversial interconnect clearing house (ICH) contract to Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited on a silver platter.
The introduction of the ICH policy and the subsequent award of a contract to Afriwave, which is said to be wholly Ghanaian-owned, have set tongues wagging since IMANI Ghana raised red flags that the bidding process was rigged to favour the eventual winner – Afriwave.
According to Mr Cudjoe, the NCA evaluation panel that looked into the bids of five contesting companies did everything to ensure that Afriwave was awarded the multi-million contract, including padding of figures.
The companies are Afriwave, Subah Infosolutions, Prodigy International Limited, TCMS-GVG Consortium Limited and Channel IT Ghana Limited.
The NCA has hit back at IMANI’s claim and reiterated that “the processes leading up to the award of the Interconnect Clearinghouse Licence were transparent and in accordance with the laws of Ghana,” adding, “Any suggestion otherwise is false, malicious and same ought to be disregarded.”
The regulator has since published the report of the Application Evaluation Panel on the Interconnect Clearing House Services Licence and other relevant documents for the public to judge.
However, IMANI Ghana has come back forcefully in an article entitled, ‘NCA continues fraudulent behaviour,’ trying to shoot down the new report since the group claims it was doctored to make it appear as if the evaluation panel had done a good job in recommending the award of the contract to Afriwave.
“The NCA’s new report is worse. ‘Smart’ but lazy scanning and shrinking of pages,” Mr Franklin Cudjoe said and added, “Now, let us take a look at the latest twisted attempt by the NCA to perpetuate the con that is now unravelling very fast in the public domain and embarrassing the people and government of Ghana.”
He said there are “inconsistencies in the colour format for scanning the same document presumably from the same scanner. Funny enough, these inconsistencies correspond to the actual report narrative and that of the evaluation score table.
“These two categories are different in colour/contrast. It can only be inferred that different scanners, different scanning periods apply to these categories, as it is impossible to change the contrast for different pages of the document when scanning.”
Standard Report Writing
IMANI said that standard report writing does not suggest that captions/sub-headings “appear as the last line on a page while the narrative of that sub-heading goes onto another page,” and added that “this principle is completely kept throughout the report we have.”
“Because the report was doctored, the fear of distorting information on subsequent pages makes them leave these trails,” the think-tank noted and said such instances could be found on pages 20, 23, 66, etc. of the newly doctored report of the NCA before asking the public to “check out pages 21 and 24 of IMANI’s authentic document to compare.”
Mr Cudjoe said in the final detailed score sheet, which is also an exhibit/appendix 3 on page 60, if the public were to accept their scanned evaluation report, then “the right side of appendix 3 should have been perforated from the binding, if it truly came from the same document.”
“Appendix 3 alone isn’t perforated, while the appendix 3 inserted in the evaluation report is perforated. Audit trail will always catch you because you don’t think like the auditor.
“The New NCA report was just scanned. This is very surprising. I thought they said they had the original copy and best professional practice would have been to post a soft copy with only the portions for signatures that could be scanned,” the IMANI boss observed.
IMANI said it analysed 30 PDF documents on the website of the NCA and developed what it called ‘a metadata benchmark.’
“We saw digital signatures and other trails linking various NCA documents to apparent employees such as Frederick Asumanu, Justice Appiah and Adi Ashong.
“This latest document, apart from the fact that attempts have been made to remove authorial marks, was produced on a Sunday, the 14th of February, on a wholly different device, using different grades of paper and bears fascinating traces to documents issued by the Ministry of Communications and none whatsoever to documents authored and released from the NCA,” he averred.
IMANI accused a deputy Minister of Communications, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, and certain individuals at the NCA of manipulating official records “to perpetuate this con of an ICH policy…”
By William Yaw Owusu