General News of Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Communications minister Ursula Owusu Ekuful has said IMANI Ghana and other civil society groups who sued over the Kelni GVG deal with government have listened to wise counsel in their decision to withdraw the case from court.
She said fears that were being expressed by the civil society groups over the intention of the contract were baseless and unfounded describing them as fanciful.
“There was never an intention to infringe on the privacy of citizens’ communication through the common platform. That was put out by so-called Think Tanks and Civil Society Organizations which led to some even sponsoring lawsuits against the Common Platform. The injunction application was thrown out thankfully by the High Court which indicated that they were borne out of fanciful fears. They have finally heeded the wisdom of sound counsel and discontinued all other lawsuits against the platform without liberty to apply,” she said at the launch of the Common platform in Accra Monday.
Meanwhile, IMANI Africa has denied claims that they have been bribed out of their opposition against the Kelni GVG contract with the Government of Ghana.
Kelni GVG, a Haitian originated company, is awarded a contract by the government for design, development and implementation of a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, and mobile money monitoring and fraud management—a service already being rendered by Afriwave and Subah Info Solution.
IMANI which sued against the deal it described as “needless” and a rip-off has unceremoniously withdrawn the suit from court. The move has sparked rumours they were settled financially by the Haitian company.
In a statement, President of IMANI Franklin Cudjoe said they decided to pull out of court because their concerns against the deal have been addressed.
“On a more serious note, do not believe all those funny allegations by faceless cowards that we settled for money. We aren’t that cheap. Didn’t these same rumour peddlers that said the telcos were paying us when the advocacy begun? Now, we have been paid by government and Kelni? Anyone who has evidence of so called payments should make it known to the world. Isn’t it worthy to note that the party that believed it had a genuine contract and called us names will later approach to even talk and agree that on privacy concerns, they have agreed to an independent body, which includes the telcoms chamber to monitor their operations to prevent tampering with content? Isn’t this modestly a sign that the advocacy wasn’t in vain after all? Wasn’t us, IMANI, that announced to the world much earlier that there had been new developments? We could have simply chosen to keep quiet if we had been bought.
“The matter isn’t over. Our biggest case, which is the atrociously over priced contract of $178, is still outstanding. Just so that you know, we live in a very confounding political environment with very powerful people pressing shady buttons to milk the state through crooked contracts. To the extent that fighting them can have dire consequences on one’s person, and in the end they can even be bold to tell you , you can have your say but we will have the final word and our way, you can imagine the hurdles placed in the path of decent critics in a so- called thriving democracy. But you know too well, that even these do not deter us at IMANI,” Mr. Cudjoe wrote.