General News of Thursday, 31 May 2018
Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has rejected accusations of corruptions and underhand dealings in the award of the revenue assurance monitoring contract to Kelni-GVG.
In a statement to Parliament, Ursula Owusu indicated that the 178 million dollar contract is the best deal the country can get for the kind of service needed.
She further stated that the country would own all the equipment for the execution of the contract after five years.
The Kelni-GVG deal has been the subject of public controversy since policy think tank, IMANI Africa raised the alarm over the cost of the project.
Delivering a statement in Parliament in response to a summon from the Speaker, Ursula Owusu said the deal further saved the country pay more than a million dollars per month.
“This issue has, rather, unfortunately, generated some apprehension which in my view, is unnecessary…Inevitably, the monthly traffic data collated by the NCA and the network operators for free was substantially the same data presented by Subah and Afriwave for which the latter companies were paying 2.6 dollars per month. Mr Speaker, we were paying for no work done. This was the situation the NPP government inherited, and it clearly could not continue.”
“Mr Speaker, the fee for this transaction, $1.49 million per month, (as against the $2.6 million paid monthly to both Subah and Afriwave) is within the industry average for Platform as a Service (PaaS) contracts of this nature. The vendors have already procured and delivered equipment worth over $50m as part of the contract sum, at no extra cost to the state and this represents significant cost savings to the nation,” the Minister added.
Franklin Cudjoe had urged the government not to hesitate in abrogating the $89 million contract between Ghana and GVG/Kelni.
IMANI had earlier petitioned the Vice President to revoke the contract for the design, development and implementation of a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance and mobile money monitoring.
Already, the contract upon signing stipulates that a payment of about $1.5 million to be paid monthly for a five-year period.
Per the terms of the contract, which was signed in December 2017, the monthly payments are to begin no later than 30 days after the agreement was signed.
But Mr Cudjoe maintains that companies like Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd have already carried out the functions expected of the new firm.
The IMANI boss thus insisted that there should be no reason why this deal should stand.
“This contract is no different from the ones we signed in 2010 and 2015 under Subah and Afriwave. In fact, the two contracts were supposed to do the very things that this new contract is purportedly to do; revenue assurance and cheque fraud. The only thing that has been added this time around is mobile money monitoring for which we have given GHIPSS [Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited] $4 million to do.”
“First of all, we don’t know what work Subah did. We don’t know what work Afriwave has done. We don’t know what value they have added to the whole telecom industry for us to warrant another entity to come and repeat the same thing for the hefty sum of $89 million. It is a no no no.”
IMANI goofed on $89 million deal
But the government has rejected such claims saying the agreement is in the best interest of the country.
Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah, had urged Franklin Cudjoe to admit that his Think Tank goofed in its scathing assessment of the $89 million contract.
“It’s okay for people to get things wrong sometimes. It is a sign of humility. It is a sign of professionalism to say that I got this wrong. On the policy point, he [Frankling Cudjoe] has got this thing wrong. He doesn’t understand the policy. He hasn’t taken time to read the policy,” Mr Andah said on The Big Issue last week.