General News of Monday, 22 October 2018
A minority legislator on the communications committee in parliament has accused President Akuffo-Addo of endorsing an illegality following the official launch of the Common Monitoring Platform.
Sam George said, “the president has by this single act, put his name in the annals of this country that he is the president who endorses criminality, illegality and does not have respect for value for money.”
The Ningo Prampram legislator does not understand how a contract worth $180 million will be signed off illegally without the due processes set out in Ghanaian law.
Also, Mr George said there was no value for money audit carried out in the process of awarding the contract as ”the tender process was a sham.”
The former presidential staffer said he is surprised as a Ghanaian that instead of the president instituting a commission of inquiry to look into the matter, he rather takes the full weight of the presidency to endorse it.
Telecom operators in the country are torn between risking losing their licenses and preventing legal suits by their customers over the implementation of the controversial KelniGVG monitoring platform.
Section 14(4) of the Communications Service Act 2008, ACT 864 empowers the Ministers of Finance and of Communications to establish a common monitoring platform for the purposes of tax revenue assurance.
It also enjoins telcos to allow the two ministers or their assigns to connect monitoring equipment on the nodes of the telcos for the purpose.
Sub-section 5 also warns telcos against refusing to allow connection of monitoring equipment to their networks or risk being fined five percent of the previous tax paid and eventually lose their license after ninety days of refusal.
But the MP said the action by the President which is against the Ghanaians will not go forgotten. He added that no matter how long it takes for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to come to power, it will fully investigate the matter.
“Every person who has played a role in causing this financial loss to the state will be hauled before the courts and prosecuted with the appropriate sanctions meted out to them,” he stressed.
He explained that this is because the government has ignored concerns raised by the Minority in Parliament, civil society as well as information from IMANI Africa, are being justified.
Mr Sam George disclosed that it was only this past Saturday that Vodafone plugged into the KelniGVG system after initially refusing to plug in because the system did not have any filtering boxes.
He said without the filtering boxes, they would have exposed their subscribers to data breach as the system would have access to their private information.
For his part, the co-founder of policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, who recently withdraw a case against KelniGVG and communication ministry said if government thought the matter is over, it should sit well.
“If they thought they can scare us with cybersecurity, which was not the intended purpose of the so-called common monitoring platform, then they made a terrible mistake.
“The president has been deluded into some deceit to believe that with cybersecurity, there is some attack probably from cyberspace and that is why we need the common monitoring platform,” he said.
He said he takes an exception to the President appending his signature to “a very badly arranged contract.”
Mr Cudjoe said they have agreed during their settlement with KelniGVG not to seek judiciary consent, “so that we will not be stopped from taking further action.”
He hinted they have more questions they want answers to which they are going to do via the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
“We are going to pursue the matter with CHRAJ because that is inquisitorial and not adversarial.”
Mr Cudjoe said judging from CHRAJ’s recent decisions “they are much more focused and diligent.”