NDC paid $150m to Subah & Afriwave for no work done – Ursula alleges

The Minister for Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has revealed that Ghana under the management of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) wasted a whopping amount of over US$150million on a contract awarded to Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Ghana Limited to monitor local and international calls.

The two companies, the Minister noted, were paid approximately US$2.6million per month for a period of five (5) years.

That means Subah Infosulotions and Afriwave Ghana Limited were paid US$156million during the contract period.

“Mr. Speaker, since traffic was never monitored in real-time, these companies collected data from the same servers as the NCA verification team and so inevitably, the monthly traffic data collated by the NCA from the network operators for free was substantially the same as the data presented by Subah and Afriwave for which the latter companies were paid approximately US$2.6million per month. Mr. Speaker, we were in effect, paying for no work done. This is the situation the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government inherited”, noted Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful while addressing Parliament, Thursday, over the controversial Kelni-GVG contract.

She was in Parliament at the instance of the Second Deputy Speaker, Hon. Alban Bagbin, following calls by the Members from the Minority group to invite the Communications Minister to address the House over the Kelni-GVG contract.

Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Ghana Limited were engaged by the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on behalf of the Republic of Ghana, to perform domestic traffic monitoring as well as Inbound International Traffic.

They took over from Global Voice Group (GVG) in 2012, a year prior to the expiration of the contract of the telecommunications revenue assurance service provider.

GVG, the Heritage Newspaper understands, entered into contract with the Government of Ghana in 2009 to monitor the Inbound International Traffic to ensure that the country received the required tax revenues.

They were also required to manage fraud on the network to reduce the incidence of traffic bypass, popularly known as SIM Box, since that also had an adverse impact on government revenue.

However, series of law suits from the telecommunications companies that had cited security of their network installations and privacy concerns led to the company terminating the contract it entered into with the GRA and the NCA.

The Ablekuma West lawmaker commenting further on the issue, told the House that till date none of the companies contracted to monitor real-time traffic volumes of the telecommunications companies operating in Ghana has succeeded in doing so, thereby, making it very difficult for the government to collect appropriate taxes from them.

This she noted, informed the NCA to reaffirm its position to implement the provisions of Act 864 of the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, to the latter by establishing a Common Platform by the end of 2017 which subsequently led to the the cancellation of the contract between GRA and Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Ghana Limited and the award of a new contract with Kelni-GVG Limited on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis.

The said contract is for an initial period of five (5) years at a cost of US$1.49million per month and renewal for another five (5) years subject to satisfactory performance, cost effectiveness of maintaining the solutions and the services provided as well as the capacity in terms of technical resources.x

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