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General News of Sunday, 3 June 2018


Prove telcos sponsoring us claims – IMANI dares critics

Policy think tank, IMANI Africa has dared persons claiming its campaign against the $89 million Kelni GVG deal is being sponsored by the telecommunication companies in the country to provide evidence.

IMANI Africa has challenged the government to provide value for the contract awarded Haitian firm, Kelni GVG to operate a common platform to help Ghana maximise revenue collection in the telco industry.

President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe had insisted that the deal is not in the national interest and only geared towards fleecing the country; a claim government has vehemently rejected.

While the arguments and counter arguments between IMANI and the Communications Ministry were ongoing, Civil Society Group, Progressive Nationalists Forum (PNF) waded into the fray and accused IMANI of fronting for the telecommunication companies with its opposition to the Kelni GVG deal.

“If IMANI is not being used as a front for them, why is it that, their big Directors and PR and all the people who are being paid fat salaries are not talking? Are you telling me MTN cannot voice their objections to this matter? If they have any objection they know where to go to,” convener of the group, Richard Nyamah said in a Citi News interview.

But Franklin Cudjoe who took offence to such allegation said: “We are daring all of them to put out any evidence they have of a single cedi any telco has paid us to resist any monitoring since this funny monitoring idea started gaining ground in 2007 in this country.”

Franklin Cudjoe in a recent piece insisted that their criticisms of the GVG deal are genuine.

“Why would we come up with a more clever model for monitoring telcos if they were indeed sponsoring us? At any rate, the Ministry says the telcos are enthusiastic about this KelniGVG deal. How can they both be enthusiastic about it and also be funding IMANI to oppose it? They said it is the telcos themselves who proposed this arrangement in March 2017. Why would the telcos pay us then? The current board chairman of the telecom regulator, Mr Kwaku Sakyi Addo used to work for the telcos. The deputy minister and minister of the ministry of communications used to work for the telcos as PR executives until they entered politics.”

The IMANI president was speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday said: “the Ministry [of Communications] has always said the Telcos have been supportive of the project; how can they be supportive and also be paying us to oppose it?”

We’re not clueless – IMANI fights back

He also used the opportunity to respond to claims by some government functionaries that IMANI is clueless over what goes on in the telco sector.

“Well for those who believe the ruse that IMANI folks know nothing about telcos, please bear in my mind that IMANI’s three most senior colleagues executives have the following experiences: Selorm Branttie is a certified IT practitioner who has taught the subject for seven years.”

“Bright Simons sat on the Global Agenda Council on Data and telecoms for six years. That’s one of the world’s most eminent ICT expert panels. He has done keynotes at the International Telecommunication Union. Kofi Bentil was an IT projects manager for five years and was part of the first team to install fibre optics for Stanchart in Ghana,” he added.

GVG deal clean; ignore needless criticism – Ursula

Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful last Thursday rejected accusations of corruption and underhand dealings in the award of the revenue assurance monitoring contract to Kelni-GVG.

In a statement to Parliament, Ursula Owusu indicated that the contract is the best deal the country can get for the kind of service needed.

“This issue has, rather, unfortunately, generated some apprehension which in my view, is unnecessary…Inevitably, the monthly traffic data collated by the NCA and the network operators for free was substantially the same data presented by Subah and Afriwave for which the latter companies were paying 2.6 dollars per month. Mr Speaker, we were paying for no work done. This was the situation the NPP government inherited, and it clearly could not continue,” she added.