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General News of Sunday, 14 October 2018

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Source: imaniafrica.org

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister

In May of this year (2018), IMANI began arising a alternation of alerts and letters on the accommodation by the Ministry of Communications (MOC), acting in concert with its abstruse agency, the National Communications Ascendancy (NCA), to accolade a 10-year adjustment account about $180 actor to an article accepted as Kelni GVG.

In June of the aforementioned year, a Arch of IMANI, Kofi Bentil, acting as a accessible absorption lawyer, commenced assorted lawsuits, on account of Maximus Amertogoh and Sara Asafu-Adjaye adjoin the Ministry of Communications on area of banking maladministration and threats to privacy. A absolutely abstracted acknowledged activity was additionally underway by a aggregation called, Subah, meant to injunct the abandonment of the Kelni-GVG adjustment on the area that the adjustment abandoned on Subah’s absolute adjustment with the government which, to its mind, had been unlawfully abrogated.

IMANI accurate the accomplishments of Kofi Bentil, and was aloof to the case of Subah back we had altered perceptions about the accomplished access to “telecom taxation acquirement assurance” that Subah believed in. In short, IMANI does not acquire this accomplished angle of advantageous millions of dollars to companies to anticipate tax artifice by telecom operators because the accomplished technology archetypal is ambiguous and the affirmation over added than a decade shows that Ghana has never been able to use these systems to beforehand acquirement accumulating from telcos, admitting their costing millions of dollars. The accomplished action has become a abandoned gravy alternation that needs to be stopped.

Kofi Bentil’s lawsuits were met with a arresting bulk of resistance, evasiveness, adjournment tactics, and exact assailment by the Ministry of Communications. It has become bright over the aftermost four months, that the Ministry has absolutely no absorbed of behaving with the aerial ethical standards and breeding accepted of a accessible office, and that advancing this bulk through the courts would acceptable booty years.

Unfortunately, Kofi Bentil has apprenticed pro bono capacity, and IMANI’s attempts to accost donations from the accessible to minimise his costs accept not been successful. In the absence of altitude favouring accessible absorption action in Ghana, abnormally back the affair at pale involves assorted layers of authoritative misconduct, we were not afraid to apprehend from Kofi Bentil that, beneath the circumstances, a adjustment was the best able end to the cloister proceedings. IMANI congratulates Kofi, Maximus and Sara for the arresting success of accepting concessions on aloofness aegis from Kelni-GVG and its enablers, the MOC.

IMANI angle the value-for-money issues it aloft adjoin the adjustment as unresolved. In this abrupt report, we shall accordingly archive the key problems with the absolute action that led to the accolade of the contract; and appearance how the chronology, the procedures adopted, the appraisal of tenders, and the final aftereffect all point to a SHAM ARRANGEMENT DESIGNED SOLELY TO RAPE GHANA. We will again outline our action to bulldoze an beforehand in the bulk for money agreeable of the accepted situation. Whilst the acknowledged case is actuality settled, the ethical-financial administering case adjoin Kelni shall abide to accumulate drive until a absolute adjustment is reached.

Here is the basic agenda of events.

August 15th, 2012

Agreement amid Global Voice Group, a Seychelles-registered company, and Subah Info-solutions is executed.

GVG assigned its rights, appellation and absorption in a adjustment active with the National Communications Ascendancy (NCA) on March 11, 2009, for the accomplishing of a “Consolidated All-embracing Gateway Activity Management” service.

Through this acceding GVG assigned or “sold” the adjustment they had with the Republic of Ghana to Subah for $12 million.

2nd February 2015

In 2015, GRA renews the animate adjustment with Subah but NCA writes anon thereafter to GRA answer that the all-important “legal administration is not in place” alike admitting Subah has already commenced operations beneath the “new dispensation”. NCA provides a “supplementary agreement” to accord “legal effect” to the affirmation amid Subah and NCA, thereby regularising a tripartite adjustment amid Subah, GRA and NCA.

In the added agreement, Subah was to body a accepted ecology belvedere for the NCA and GRA application an “out of apprenticed arresting alteration point architecture”.

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NCA was to bill arrangement operators, aggregate monies due to government in account of international, inbound, cyberbanking communications traffic, and again pay a allocation of the bulk calm to Subah as account fees adjoin invoices issued by the latter.

August 7, 2017

Letter from Ministry of Communications to the Director-General (DG) of the NCA, Joe Anokye, active by Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful reminding the DG that in March 2017 a accommodation had been taken at a stakeholders’ appointment appointment chaired by the Senior Minister to apparatus a accepted belvedere for NCA and GRA, but with the NCA demography the beforehand in the enactment of the belvedere because of its abstruse capacity. In the letter, the Minister of Communications said the participants at the affair had agreed that the albatross for this belvedere should be removed from both Afriwave and Subah. Anamnesis that in 2015, the NDC had alien Afriwave into the picture, thereby agreeable the telecom tax affirmation affairs into two, one administered by the GRA and operated by Subah, and the added administered by the NCA and operated by Afriwave.

11th August 2017

Joe Anokye writes to Minister Owusu-Ekuful accepting the albatross to annex the “Common Ecology Platform” from a bell-ringer by a “selective breakable process”. We assume “selective” actuality was brash to beggarly “restrictive” or “restricted”.

31st August 2017

NCA seeks approval from the Accessible Accretion Ascendancy (PPA) to use belted abandonment for the purpose of accretion this “Common Ecology Platform” (CMP). The use of “restricted tendering” was proposed as the alone applicable aisle advanced as the CMP is a awful specialised endeavour and alone a few companies in Ghana can achievement to body and administer it. In the aforementioned letter to the PPA, the NCA DG claims that the Ascendancy had conducted an all-encompassing accomplishments chase on the 4 companies it was advising to the PPA for approval based on their clue almanac alms agnate casework as those which it intends to accost through the tender. This is a absolute acute point, and the clairvoyant is asked to buck it in apperception as the absoluteness of IMANI’s case rests about on it.

11th September

PPA issues approval for ONLY the 4 companies to be access by the NCA for belted tendering.

15th November 2017

NCA issues behest abstracts to the four abandonment companies, which are

3D TV Backdrop Limited/Opertech Solutions

Aeon Logistics/SGS

Kelni Ltd/GVG

Atlantic Assets Limited/Telsig

Notice that the “subcontractors” of these companies are mentioned afterwards the slash, but not as collective adventure partners. We will explain why that point affairs afterwards in this report.

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30th November

The four advantageous companies beatific the afterward assembly to the aperture of bids at the NCA:

Rouba Habboushi – Kelni Ltd. (this adumbrative is additionally associated with the Yellow Butterfly Company, which we accept been investigating in affiliation to affiliated matters)

Frederick Yemoh – 3D TV Backdrop Limited

George Tagoe – Aeon Acumen Limited

Peter Hoyah – Atlantic Assets Limited

The NCA had constituted an article abandonment board absolute of the afterward persons:

Kofi Datsa – IT Lawyer

Kofi Ntim Yeboah-Kordieh – Cyberbanking Engineer

Roland Kudozia – Core Arrangement Engineer

Mohamed Amin Suleman – IT Engineer

David Gyapanin – acknowledged accretion specialist

The appraisal of the bids by the board yielded the afterward results:

Technical

Financial

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4th December (Monday)

Following a Affair of the Article Breakable Board captivated at the NCA Boardroom, Joe Anokye and Abena Asafu Agyei, Head of Accretion at the NCA, confused to beforehand the process.

5th December 2017 (Tuesday)

George Andah, Deputy Minister of Communications, writes to Charles Taylor of the Central Breakable Analysis Board (CTRC) with copies of the “Evaluation Report” of the breakable captivated pursuant to the “concurrent approval” issued by the CTRC and solicits acceptance for the process.

X December 2017

On a letter with a tampered date (our assay appearance that the letter was accounting ancient amid 4th December and 14th December) that appears to be a cantankerous amid 4th, 13th and 14th December, David Quist, Secretary to the CTRC wrote to Minister Owusu-Ekuful to acquaint her that an emergency affair had been captivated on the 11th of December 2017 to accept the appraisal address and accordingly that approval to access into an acceding with the called bell-ringer was therewith issued.

CTRC asked for a Ministry of Finance approval back the adjustment was multi-year and additionally accepted to see after-effects of negotiations with the bell-ringer above-mentioned to final approval.

14th December 2017 (Thursday)

MOC is declared to accept accounting a letter to the Ministry of Finance (essentially the aforementioned day that the letter from the CTRC letter is allegedly dated) allurement for approval.

19th December 2017 (Tuesday)

Minister of Finance writes to admission approval. Not a distinct allegorical announcement was annexed to the appeal for approval. One wonders how the accommodation was made.

20th December 2017 (Wednesday)

MOC writes to CTRC with its assurances that the Ministry of Finance had accepted approval. No advice whatsoever about the after-effects of the negotiations were provided.

22nd December 2017 (Friday)

David Quist writes to acquaint the MOC that at a affair of the CTRC the day before, during which the “outcome of negotiations” and the Ministry of Finance’s approval had been reviewed, the board was disposed to affair approval. Alike admitting a awaiting address assuming that the Ministry is acting illegally had additionally been sighted, the CTRC was about of the apperception that the action bare to progress.

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27th December 2017 (Wednesday)

Right afterwards battle day, the adjustment with Kelni-GVG is signed.

Abuses & Concerns

1. The aboriginal affair apparent about the agenda categorical aloft is the alacrity with which absolute circuitous evaluations of a $178 actor dollar adjustment were allegedly conducted. In around all cases, no absolute due activity advice was accessible to the ascendancy authoritative the accommodation to accept or reject. For example, the Ministry of Finance accustomed a letter on Friday allurement it to accord to a multi-year adjustment admired at about $180 million, with ABSOLUTELY NO banking due activity of the proposed EPC structure, and yet two alive canicule afterwards the Minister had been able to booty a accommodation to sign. Anyone with alike the barest angle of how government works in Ghana would acknowledge the job chain in the boilerplate apostolic office, not to allocution of the Finance Ministry of all places. Clearly, there was no absorbed to conduct due diligence. This botheration is aggressive beyond the chronology.

2. Admitting a awaiting address from Subah alleging in absolute able agreement the abomination of the absolute proceedings, the CRTC does not bother alike already to allure comments on the bulk alike as the action is rammed through from emergency sitting to emergency sitting (note that the CRTC would commonly accommodated already or alert a ages and by law charge accommodated at atomic already every three months).

3. On 16th January 2018, almost three weeks (less than 14 alive days) later, the Attorney Accepted was accountable to address to Kofi Nti, Commissioner Accepted of the GRA, apropos a address accustomed from Mercer & Aggregation on account of Subah in account of a declared abortion of its adjustment and accolade of the aforementioned adjustment to a adopted company. This letter was abandoned alike admitting the Attorney Accepted had acutely brash that the letter of abortion beatific on 25th April, 2017 and meant to booty aftereffect on 5th May 2017, did not amuse the 3-month apprehension adumbrated in the contract, and that the 11-day apprehension was acutely in aperture of the contract. The apprehension from the AG was absolute bright that should Subah adjudge to exercise its rights at law, banking accountability to the accompaniment could not be averted. Yet, this was abandoned alike as the MOC, with the bunco of the CTRC, rammed through the process. Any adjustment with Subah today would accept banking implications for the project.

4. Aloft aggregate else, however, is the absolute conduct of the “restricted tender”. Our checks at the Registrar Accepted accepted our fears back we originally brash the affidavit accessible on the Kelni case. None of the four companies advisedly access to the breakable had any clue almanac in the acreage of telecom acquirement and cartage ecology for which acumen a belted breakable was warranted. Not surprisingly, in area II 5.5(b) of the belted breakable guidelines, the NCA mischievously airy the claim that the acknowledged tenderer should accept at atomic 3 years minimum clue record. Luckily, for this country, they were clumsy to aish the 5.5(e) claim that the acknowledged tenderer shows affirmation that they accept 10% of the adjustment bulk in the anatomy of aqueous assets or acclaim facilities. Admitting this claim basic allotment of the appraisal criteria, as per area v (qualification information) article 1.8 of the guidelines, no affirmation was calm to affirm that any of the four abstruse companies met this absolute bright stipulation.

5. Added affirmation that the declared “background research” acclimated to absolve the alternative of ONLY the four companies to participate in the adulterated breakable was absolutely inept came to the ahead back the declared abstruse accomplice of Aeon Acumen – SGS – disclaimed any affiliation and banned to participate in the adulterated proceedings. The assumption actuality is that: in a breakable appraisal of this kind, it is not declared subcontractors or declared “partners” that matter, but rather the abandonment companies whose incorporation, tax, and added identification documents/information accept advantaged them to participate in the bid. The breezy use of the names of declared “partners” or potential/future subcontractors to ster the believability of anemic tenderers is heavily accessible to corruption and appropriately in contravention of all norms of accessible procurement. We accept been all-embracing in accomplished annotation about Kelni Ltd, so we will in this address alone focus on the added three companies access to the tender:

a. Aeon Acumen was congenital in 2014 to accommodate casework in accepted acumen and ICT consultancy with paid-in basic of 5000 GHS. It says its arch abode of accomplishing business is Hse No. E249, Tumu Avenue in Kanda (picture below).

Two canicule afterwards Minister Owusu-Ekuful’s letter to the NCA allurement for the accretion of the CMP, the founders of Aeon Acumen awash their non-trading action to Ms. Awura Adwoa Anie-Budu, a alpha law alum and acquaintance of Fritz Salewa, an Obafemi Awolowo alum alive as a acknowledging paralegal at Integrated Acknowledged Consultants, who became the additional director. The absolute bulk paid in the transaction was a admirable absolute of 5000 GHS. That was how abundant the aggregation was account on the eve of the tender, and yet Aeon was called as one of alone four companies in Ghana acceptable to bid for the project. Let that bore in. Checks at SSNIT leads us to achieve that at this time Aeon Acumen had no full-time employees, and still doesn’t. So who is it that begin Aeon and absitively that they bare to be access to participate in a belted breakable for a $179 actor activity to adviser adult telecom companies in Ghana?

b. 3D TV Backdrop was congenital in 1995 and is authorised to barter in the construction, accepted merchandise, telecoms and broadcasting sectors. It has never acquired any licenses in the telecom and broadcasting industries, a adapted area area licenses are prerequisites of business, and has absolutely been cold for abounding years. Its alone actor is Yvonne Yemoh, who contributed the 10,000 GHS allotment basic during the formation. The additional Administrator is Christopher Amanortey of Akosombo Chambers. 3D TV additionally has no full-time employees. What is alike added fascinating, it was alone AFTER the PPA had accustomed the admittance of the company’s name in the account of pre-qualified tenderers that, on 26th September 2017, the aggregation adapted its altar to accommodate telecoms. Who did the analysis that angry up 3D TV Backdrop as one of the few companies in Ghana that could undertake this $179 actor contract?

c. Atlantic Assets Apprenticed was represented during the tender, if you would recall, by Peter Hoyah, addition paralegal at Integrated Acknowledged Consultants, the aforementioned article whose paralegal serves as a Administrator at Aeon. It was founded in 2011 with allotment basic of 15000 GHS by Isaac Emmil Osei Bonsu and Laura Anastasia Akuoko for the primary purpose of advance in absolute estate. Isaac Osei Bonsu is a acclaimed advocate with Minkah-Premo, who has investments in assorted backdrop in Ghana. “Atlantic Assets Limited” about had no accomplishments whatsoever in the telecoms industry, abundant beneath in signals processing, and could not accept alike in an cold chase for companies with the accommodation to buck a $179 actor project.

6. None of the GRA admiral declared to accept been allotment of the appraisal console absolutely participated. This was aberrant absolutely because that the CMP was justified as a agency to arrange GRA and NCA acquirement affirmation processes and practices.

7. Mohamed Amin Suleman, a above agent of Global Voice Group, connected to participate as an analyzer in these affairs back he should accept had the able faculty to recuse himself. The catechism is: why was he empanelled in the aboriginal abode by the NCA?

8. The abstruse angle from Kelni Ltd, which was adjudged as best above by the compromised article breakable board was abounding with arduous abstruse skulduggery. Multi-protocol packet analysers were advisedly bleared and renamed as multiple, separate, accouterments and software bales in adjustment to baffle and confuse, thereby answer millions of dollars for basic advance that artlessly cannot survive alike the best abecedarian of abstruse audits. Some of the best arrant entries include: CNMP Probes Simon Alternation 2000

USSD Filtering & Ecology Engine

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SMS Classification & Ecology Engine

CAMEL/DIAMETER Filtering & Ecology Engine

SigTran Ecology Engine

These redundant, mis-specified, accessories were listed as costing over $700,000 for anniversary site.

9. As IMANI has approved severally in the accomplished through our accounting and articulate commentary, the proposed basement plan for the SS7 and sigtran monitoring, which undergirds the accomplished CMP effort, was aggrandized and aggrandized by several millions of dollars, as was the operational and administration plan. This was done with the abounding bunco of the Article Abandonment Committee, which is why it produced no abstruse address to absolve any of the planned amount accustomed the appointment at hand. Not a distinct abstruse appraisal was accounting to appearance any accomplishment at all to analysis the proposed architectural architecture and topology. Ghana’s money was aloof caked bottomward the drain.

10. At the CRTC level, amoral failures circuitous the farce. The belted breakable awarded to Kelni Ltd was not appear in the Accessible Accretion Bulletin adverse to area 39(2) of the Accessible Accretion Act (the cyberbanking adaptation of the PPB is accessible for anyone to check: https://www.ppaghana.org/rt-contracts_results.asp?Agency=%&ppb_date=356&Submit=Search&offset=50). None of the austere questions that should accept been asked were asked. And about $180 actor of the country’s adored assets were accustomed to bore bottomward the cesspool of ineptitude.

IMANI has decided, therefore, to accredit this accomplished bulk to CHRAJ.

Given the challenges with the cloister arrangement we categorical at the alpha of this report, activity to CHRAJ is the best cost-effective avenue in these circumstances.

Our primary complaint is that a “restricted tendering” action presupposes all-encompassing due activity afore the accessible tenderer can achieve that alone the companies actuality access acquire the attenuate aggregate of accommodation and acquaintance to undertake a accurate assignment. Without that safeguard, the action is heavily accessible to abuse.

We insist, based on our research, a allotment of which we accept summarised in this report, that the accommodation to bind such a above tender, admired at such a huge sum, and one that had no restrictions on the allegiance of abandonment entities, to four companies with no clue almanac managing operations of agnate abstruse complication as the appointment in appearance was allotment of a advised accomplishment to conduct adulterated affairs aloof to favour adopted vendors.

This conduct amounts to corruption of appointment and authoritative malfeasance. We do not accept that any cold appraisal of the abstruse companies access to breakable was conducted. Their alternative was a angle meant to facilitate a assumption conclusion.

It is absolute important to buck in apperception the diction of the law on this issue. A belted breakable is alone justified beneath the afterward conditions:

(a) if goods, works or casework are accessible alone from a apprenticed cardinal of suppliers or contractors; or

(b) if the time and amount appropriate to appraise and appraise a ample cardinal of ten

A CHRAJ analysis is appropriately warranted.

If, about the MOC, NCA and Kelni-GVG are accessible to added negotiations with a appearance to convalescent the bulk for money situation, the antidote we intend to seek from CHRAJ can be achievable from a absolute adjustment now that Kofi Bentil has fabricated advance on the aloofness front. The accomplished point of complete accessible procurement, afterwards all, is to access at the best bulk for money decision.

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We shall amend the accessible in due course.

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