Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Minister for Communications, has defended the award of a US$178 million telecommunication company’s monitoring contract to Kelni-GVG, saying, that the deal is in the best national interest.
She flatly rejected claims about it being wasteful and milking the public purse.
The Minister told Parliament that there was absolutely no corruption or any underhand dealings.
“I can never be party to any such conduct as I value my reputation and the reputation of the government.”
She had been summoned by the Speaker to apprise the Members of Parliament (MPs) of details of the contract, which had generated intense public debate.
Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI Africa, a policy think-tank, has been vocal in his criticism of contract and has been demanding that it should be abrogated.
The Minister, however, has an entirely different position and it is that “this is the best deal we could get”.
Under it Ghana was going to own all the monitoring equipment at the end of the five-year agreement.
Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said the contract was in compliance with the Communication Service (Amendment) Act passed in 2013, adding that, the passage of the Electronic Communications Amendment Act, 2009 (Act 786), imposed a duty on the state to monitor the 19 cents per minute charged by network operators for international calls terminated in Ghana.
A similar contract had been signed with Subah Infosolutions Limited in 2010 but that had been abrogated by the government.
This was because Subah was said not to be doing the traffic monitoring on a real-time basis, as data was only collected from the servers of the Mobile Network Operators.
The network operators persisted in denying them the right to connect to their physical network nodes to collect the raw data for analysis.
The Minister was emphatic that “no other system or company is currently providing the service” Kelni GVG was going to perform.
“The mobile money interoperability platform of the Ghana Interbank Payment Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) monitors transactions between two or more telcos and the banks but does not monitor transactions on one network.”
The Common Monitoring Platform (CMP), she said, however “does so”.
Again neither the National Communication Authority (NCA) nor the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) “currently has the capability of providing this service and have indicated so”.
The Minister added that “the CMP will provide real-time monitoring of all traffic volumes on all networks as has never happened before” and that it was currently conducting anti-fraud testing as envisaged.
The Network Operations Centre had been set up, connected and equipped with hardware and software.
Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said everything was ready for all operators to be connected and they were notified on May 11, 2018.
“All deliverables and timelines under the contract have been met to date.”