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No Corruption in Kelni-GVG Deal ― Ursula Claims

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The Minister for Communications Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has defended the $89.4million contract awarded Kelni-GVG by the government of Ghana.

According to her, attempts to impugn the integrity of the contract will not wash, stating, “there have been absolutely no corruption or underhand dealings in this transaction.

“I can never be party to any such conduct as I value my reputation and the reputation of the government which serves the good people of Ghana. I stand here as a Minister of the Akufo-Addo administration to assure this august House that I believe this is the best deal we could have got.”

The minister responding to questions concerning the controversial deal in Parliament, yesterday emphatically stated that the uneasiness surrounding the Kelni Global Voice Group (GVG) deal is totally unnecessary.

It could be recalled that IMANI Africa after gaining knowledge of deal was quick to call for an investigation into the acquisition of the platform―trailing the Ministry of Communication (MoC) at its tail.

According to IMANI, similar deals had been awarded to Subah and Afriwave under the NDC administration to perform similar jobs, even though both contracts had not yielded any gains.

They maintained the contract is soaked in fraud―a duplication of jobs and a needless drain on the country’s scarce resources.

Rubbishing IMANI Africa’s position, Mrs Owusu- Ekuful said the contract is not a duplication of any existing contract and that “No other system or company is currently providing this service. The mobile money interoperability platform of GHIPPs monitors transactions between two or more Telcos and the banks but does not monitor transactions on one network. The CMP does so.”

Due Diligence

Critics had argued that Ursula and her team had not done a proper review of previous works Subah and Afriwave before contracting a different company for the ‘Common Platform’ deal.

Mrs Owusu-Ekulful in defence said, it was her government’s due diligence that led to the kicking out of Subah and Afriwave.

“…since traffic was never monitored in real-time, these companies collected the data from the same Servers as the NCA verification team and so inevitably, the monthly traffic data collated by the NCA from the network operators for free was substantially the same as the data presented by Subah and Afriwave for which the latter companies were paid approximately $2.6 million per month. Mr. Speaker, we were in effect paying for no work done,” she revealed.

According to her it was a bitter situation the NPP government inherited and it clearly could not continue.

Kelni GVG Deal Underway

The Communication Minister further revealed the deal was underway and there was nothing that could stop it.

“The vendors have already procured and delivered equipment worth over $50m as part of the contract sum, at no extra cost to the state and this represents significant cost savings to the nation. Kelni-GVG has begun the antifraud operation which includes injection of calls from abroad. This is a direct cost element to Kelni-GVG Limited which must pay for these calls coming from various countries abroad,” she said.

According to her, the fee for the deal would be $1.49 million per month, (as against the $2.6 million paid monthly to both Subah and Afriwave).

The contract she said would be for a Five (5) years renewable for another five years’ subject to certain conditions being met.

Key among these conditions is satisfactory performance by KELNI-GVG Limited, cost effectiveness of maintaining the solutions and the services provided and the capacity in terms of technical resources of KELNI-GVG Limited to continue providing the requisite services.

“The Common Platform will therefore be evaluated continuously to ensure that it remains fit for purpose,” she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekulful was however quick to add that any service provider who refuses to provide access to its network for government or its appointed agents as specified in the Act commits an offence and is liable to pay a penalty.

“Let me serve notice to all communications service providers in this country that we will enforce these provisions fully,” she reiterated.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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