Abrogate ‘controversial’ $89m telecom deal – Group demands

General News of Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

2018-05-30

Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu

A Civil Society group, Tax Justice Ghana, has waded into the Kelni-GVG controversy, calling for the immediate abrogation of the contract.

It is questioning the value for money considerations under which the contract was awarded.

The 89 million dollars mobile monitoring and assurance contract has alarmed sections of the public with groups like IMANI Africa questioning its value; though the Communications Ministry insists the deal will give Ghana maximum benefit.

Tax Justice Ghana in a statement, however, said the Ministry has failed to address key questions relating to the contract.

“The Deputy Minister for Communication, has consistently scampered from one justification to another in all bid to defend this stinky contract. At one point, he sought to justify the value of the contract with how much projected revenue he thinks Ghana is likely to glean and he put the figure around $100 million, but he had since abandoned that position when it was made clear to him that Ghana already makes similar amount in the absence of this stinky contract.

“His new argument is that this contract will seek to take real-time data from telcos and says this will be the first of its kind in the history of this country. This statement rather exposes the hypocrisy of him and his minister, Ursula Owusu Ekufful.”

The statement from the group is below

IAG PRESS RELEASE

29th May 2018

ABROGATE THE KELNIGVG CONTRACT WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT: INTEGRITY ASSURANCE GHANA CALLS ON GOVERNMENT

We have observed with keen interest the various arguments put forth by interested persons on the KelniGVG contract with the government, and we must say, the MoC’s defence so far exposes the flaws in the stinky contract.

A contract cannot be deemed to be appropriate and important if the question of value for money is not properly answered. This fundamental question (value for money), especially in the case of state contracts, is what gives legitimacy to any contract executed in the name and for the Republic of Ghana. Unfortunately, the MoC has failed to answer this question correctly.

The Deputy Minister for Communication has consistently scampered from one justification to another in all bid to defend this stinky contract. At one point, he sought to justify the value of the contract with how much projected revenue he thinks Ghana is likely to glean and he put the figure around $100 million, but he had since abandoned that position when it was made clear to him that Ghana already makes similar amount in the absence of this stinky contract. His new argument is that this contract will seek to take real-time data from telcos and says this will be the first of its kind in the history of this country. This statement rather exposes the hypocrisy of him and his minister, Ursula Owusu Ekufful. In 2015, Madam Ursula Owusu was emphatic when the Afriwave contract came up for scrutiny in parliament that, Afriwave was doing real-time monitoring and so where lies the Deputy Minister’s claim of real-time monitoring for the first time in Ghana? In any case, how important is real-time data to the country if there is no financial benefit to the country?

We can go on and on with the Deputy Minister’s scamperings but we need to spare time to look at very pertinent issues which a lot of Ghanaians are not looking at, and that is the terms of the contract itself. When you look at the contract in question, you cannot help but think that something is amiss and that MoC has done a great disservice to this country. Consider, for instance, the following concerns about the contract:

1. the contract sum is pegged at a flat fee of $1.5 million per month. The problem with this is that the fee is not tied to government’s revenue as a result of the contract. What this means is that the contract is not self-financing: how then can the MoC make a case of value for money? Why didn’t MoC rather consider paying a percentage of revenue generated as a result of the Service Provider’s (KelniGVG) work? That way, KelniGVG is paid purely based on performance, and so the state coffers would have been protected.

2. in case of material breach by the government which will be the basis for the abrogation of the contract, the government will pay 50% of the monthly fee by the number of months from the date of termination up to the end of the contract. A worrying situation arising from this clause is that the same penalty is not imposed on KelniGVG in case of a material breach on its part. As citizens, we ask, will operatives at MoC agree to such a clause if Ghana was their company?

3. in the contract, Ghana is obliged to pay 5% additionally in penalties should the government delay in making payment at the end of a particular month. Interestingly, KelniGVG on its part under the contract is allowed to apply for an extension of time if it senses that, it cannot meet its obligation under the performance matrix. Why is it that, the government is not given same privilege in case of a genuine difficulty in payment of monthly fees? Have we become so rich as a country that we no longer care about prudence in the use of state resources or it is simply a question of the deliberate use of sophistry by government operatives to fleece the country?

One thing that is sufficiently clear in the contract is that KelniGVG has nothing to lose: they are winning at every stage of the contract whereas Ghana is put in a very tight corner. IMANI has the full backing of many Ghanaians and CSOs including the IAG in its war to see to the recession of this stinky deal. We call on the President to intervene and ensure that this contract is abrogated immediately.

Ghanaians have suffered enough at the hands of avarice-driven government officials, and this marks the beginning of many wars on government officials who think they can take Ghanaians for granted.

Long live Ghana!

Sulemana Issifu Executive Director Integrity Assurance Ghana

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