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General News of Monday, 21 May 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

$89m deal: Disclosing secrets to a firm with no credibility is ‘unwise’ – IMANI to Government

Franklin Cudjoe is President of policy think-tank, IMANI

Government risks putting its reputation on the line if it ‘stubbornly’ pushes through with plans to chase $1bn in revenues from telcos through an $89 contract to a private company; GVG-Kelni, considering that the company being contracted in itself is questionable as far as credibility and reliability is concerned, President of policy think-tank IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe has said.

GVG has been selected through a restricted tendering process to design, develop and implement a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance and mobile money monitoring over five years at a cost of $89M.

Mr. Cudjoe who has vehemently opposed the deal from the onset argues that the company contracted to monitor phone calls, messages and check SIM box fraud from the various telcos in the country barely has a credible website for any reference among other things.

The company which supposedly is a local one he indicated, uses an international number, has social media handles that can only be traced to a template they bought from Themforest Ancora Themes page (an insecure website that cannot be trusted), fails to provide the profile of even a single staff member and has very little information on the largest search engine; Google, except for recent stories about the deal that have been projected by his think-tank.

He sees no ‘sense’ therefore in entrusting the privacy and secrets of citizens to a company which itself cannot be trusted.

“Note that on the main website of the so-called local company that bagged $89m free money, the phone number of the company is 1-800-123-45-67, it still hasn’t changed till now…. Note also that their social media handles still point to the template they bought from Themeforest Ancora Themes page, which any half-savvy web developer can find out. Talk about giving your secrets away in public so carelessly for a company being charged to supervise handling of all our phone calls, messages and data packets in the name of revenue assurance”, he stated in a statement.

“The problem of credibility here does not lie in just the contract, but the type of company. If it can’t keep a website secure and is resorting to these shenanigans, how sure are we, since we DON'T HAVE THE PROFILE OF A SINGLE STAFF MEMBER, that we are dealing with an organization that understands the depth and seriousness of the issue at hand………For a company with such an impressive list of clients, the only stories on Google about it are about this looming scandal and the payoff that IMANI has brought to light. Indeed, even tiny websites with few clients have more information available than that”, he further said.

“Sadly, on their news blog, they are happily disparaging IMANI with the talk about Masquerading against the policy. It is funny that they will rather be calling people out for masquerading when they are the ones wearing the masks in a space where we all need to be transparent”.



He urged government to abrogate the contract lest it risks marring its reputation.

“This deal should it continue will be a serious blight on the NPP government and its reputation on good deal making, at the very least.”

Background:

IMANI has fiercely resisted government’s plans to chase $1bn in revenues from telcos through an $89 contract to a private company; GVG-Kelni.

GVG has been selected through a restricted tendering process to design, develop and implement a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance and mobile money monitoring over five years at a cost of $89M.

IMANI President Franklin Cudjoe has also questioned the credibility of the selected company, GVG.



Deputy Communications minister George Andah, on the other hand, has said this contract is 55% cheaper than the previous two contracts; Subah Infosolutions which was selected in 2010 and subsequently, Afriwave company Ltd in 2015, and does two more functions than them too.

He said GVG apart from monitoring calls in real time can also monitor the new space of mobile money transactions.

The selection of GVG is the third and latest attempt by the government to ensure that telcos do not under-declare their call traffic on the basis of which tax revenues are calculated.