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General News of Tuesday, 12 June 2018


Kelni GVG attempts to forcefully plug into telcos database after deadline snub

Officials of Kelni GVG are reported to have attempted to forcefully plug into data devices of telecommunications companies in the country.

This follows the expiration of an 11-day directive from the Ministry of Communications for telcos to sign onto the Kelni GVG platform as part of the $89 million contract.

The telcos had up to Monday to plug into the system but they called the bluff of the sector Minister after ignoring her strongly-worded deadline to comply with a government plan to monitor their call traffic as a means of verifying the accurate tax payments.

So far, only Glo has connected into the system operated by Kelni GVG which has been contracted by the government to provide call traffic data which will be used to verify if telcos declare the correct taxes.

Giants MTN, Vodafone and AirtelTigo stayed out as the 11-day deadline rolled out without event, but Joy News checks reveal issues with breach of confidential data by the company remain unresolved.

Government has been dragged to court over the contract as private citizens Maximus Amertogoh and Sarah Owen Asafu-Adjaye allege the Kelni GVG contract would breach their fundamental right to privacy and give the government access to the data of millions.

But Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has described the telcos' privacy concern as a "facade" which "smacks of disrespect of our laws".

She said these fears are not borne out of facts because Kelni GVG and the regulator National Communications Authority (NCA) are data protection compliant.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful observed that these multinational companies are not complaining about privacy issues in countries like Rwanda and Uganda where their systems are monitored by GVG and called their fears "completely unjustified".

But a visit to the MTN Data Centre at Sakaman in Accra by Joy News’ Komla Adom revealed that some Kelni GVG officers were at the company premises Monday demanding access to their offices.

Sources told the reporter, the staff of MTN would not allow them in because they had yet to receive any official communication from their head office in Accra.

According to the sources, there were verbal exchanges between the two parties after which they stepped out of the premises. Interestingly, the Kelni GVG officials loitered around for some time before eventually leaving the facility.

In support of the telcos, ranking member of Parliament’s Communications Committee, Alhaji ABA Fuseini, in an interview with Joy News' Parker Wilson backed the telcos in their defiance.

He said if government wants to monitor the revenue of the telcos, it already knows how to get that information so the plugging into their database is a nonstarter.

The legislator argues that if government does not have any ulterior motive in monitoring people's calls, which is a constitutional breach, it needs not to be pushing for such action.