Ursula accuses IMANI of misinformation over $89 m contract



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The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, is accusing IMANI Africa of misinforming the general public  over a contract the ministry signed with a Haitian company last year.

The Communications Ministry  signed the contract with GVG/Kelni to deal with revenue losses and simbox fraud in the telecom Industry.

However, IMANI Africa boss, Franklin Cudjoe has alleged that the $89 million contract is a careless duplication of jobs and a needless drain on the country’s scarce resources.

Mr Cudjoe  said  Subah and Afriwave were awarded similar questionable  contracts under the NDC administration to perform similar and that it is strange that the NPP government is repeating what it criticised then. 

However, the ministry has denied the allegation in a statement released Friday.

The minister said the contractual obligations of the parties are clearly defined, adding that  KelniGVG has issued a performance bond to demonstrate its commitment to deliver the Solution to meet the requirements of the Implementing Agencies (GRA and NCA). 

“Under the BUILD, OPERATE, MANAGE and TRANSFER model, the contract signed has a clear roadmap and deliverables. The installation of the Common Platform is in progress and the Central Monitoring System is fully equipped. The Installation is expected to be operational before the end of July 2018,” the statement said.

Mrs Ekuful  said  government is committed to transparency and the provision of the necessary protection for every “Ghanaian in the use and verification of their hard-earned Cedis, so, that we may as a nation reach the  target  of  self-sustenance,  taking  Ghana  Beyond  Aid;  by  plugging  all  leakages  and diversion of our revenue. As the President has said consistently, THIS IS NON NEGOTIABLE”.

Below is the full statement: 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON PLATFORM: SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT

The attention of the Ministry of Communications (MoC) has been drawn to an article released by IMANI Ghana, containing a litany of misinformation about the ministry, its mandate under the law and its conduct in fulfilment of such mandate.

The MoC, by this statement, would like to set the records straight.

As of 2009, the National Communications Authority, (NCA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) had different regulations in accordance with their mandates to enhance oversight and revenue generation monitoring activities. As a result, each agency contracted different service providers in 2010 to achieve their objectives. In 2013, the government consolidated these regulations in the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Act 864) to benefit from the synergy of using a single platform.

The  Act  clearly  stipulated  that  a  common  platform  be  used  for  the  purpose  of  monitoring revenues,   including   revenues   accruing   from   levies.   For   this   purpose,   the   Ministry   of Communications  (MoC),  the  Ministry  of  Finance  (MoF),  the  NCA  and  the  GRA  have  held several   meetings   to   agree   on   the   way   forward   for   oversight   and   revenue   assurance   in telecommunications.

For  the  purposes  of  clarity,  it  is  important  to  establish  the  timeline  of  events  that  led  to  the signing   of   the   contract   between   the   Government   of   Ghana,   through   its   Ministries   of Communications  and  Finance  and  KelniGVG,  a  Ghanaian  company,  for  the  provision  of oversight and revenue assurance monitoring.

• Subah  Infosolutions  was  contracted  by  GRA  in  2010,  to  oversee  the  tax  revenue monitoring activities from the Telcos. The contract was renewed with an expanded scope in  2014  for  a  five-year  (5)  term,  renewable  annually. To  the  best  of  our  knowledge, 

despite  having installed  the  SUBAH  Solution,  GRA  was  still  depending  on  Operators’ declarations for revenue monitoring purposes and did not have real time information on telecoms traffic volumes.

•  Afriwave was also licensed in 2016 by NCA, to provide an interconnect clearing house in

monitoring  both  domestic  and  international  traffic  volumes  and  the  accounting  of  the Surtax  on  International  Inbound  Call  Termination  (SIIT)  returns  and  fight  against  the SIMBOX  fraud.  The  licence  was  primarily  for  the  provision  of  interconnect  traffic routing, settlements and  billing. Afriwave failed  to deliver on licensed services per the requirements  of  the  Electronic  Communications  (Interconnect  Clearinghouse  Services) Regulations, 2016, L.I. 2234 resulting in an amendment of the licence in 2017 to restrict them to interconnect services only.

• Due to the lack of clarity regarding the implementation of the law on the establishment of a common platform, the NPP administration held a stakeholders forum on Tuesday, 21st February,   2017   chaired   by   the   Senior   Minister.   The   Ministers   of   Finance   and Communications  were  both  present  in  addition  to  relevant  stakeholders  including  all mobile operators, Subah and Afriwave. After all the presentations, it became clear there was duplication of efforts by both Subah and Afriwave while none of them was providing the real time traffic monitoring solution required for effective revenue assurance in this sector.  They  both  depended  on  Call  Detail  Records  {CDRs}  provided  by  the  various mobile operators, information which was freely available to the NCA. The government of Ghana was also paying both entities essentially for no work done. The  outcome of the consultation  process  was  for  the  NCA  to  amend  the  Interconnect  Clearinghouse  (ICH) Licence to restrict them to clearing hose operations and for GRA to abrogate the contract with  Subah.  This  would  pave  way  for  the  establishment  of  the  common  platform  in accordance with the law for proper revenue assurance.

• A new procurement process was launched, sanctioned by the MoC and MoF, in accordance with the law, to select a suitable vendor to meet the requirements defined by the NCA and GRA and in December 2017, the contract was awarded to a Ghanaian entity, duly registered under the laws of the Republic of Ghana called KelniGVG Limited. KelniGVG was initially incorporated in October 1995. The award was made in full compliance with the relevant laws in Ghana, unlike the contracts awarded to both Subah and Afriwave.

•   The current implementation of the common platform has resulted in monthly savings of over US$1.1million to the State. 

It must be made clear that the MoC  and the MoF jointly collaborated on all the processes and signed a new contract for the implementation of the Common Platform in accordance with their procurement guidelines and the provisions of the Law.

Also, prior to this new arrangement, all relevant stakeholders were made aware of the fact that previous contractors’ services, namely that of Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave relating to traffic and revenue assurance monitoring were in effect, TERMINATED. There can therefore be no duplication as alleged by Imani. Furthermore, the KelniGVG mobile money monitoring system will monitor ALL mobile money transactions on the various platforms both on each network and between networks. The interoperability framework launched by HE the vice president facilitates and monitors transactions between the various operators and the banks. Between the two systems, the government will have complete visibility on total volumes and values of mobile money transactions in Ghana and derive the appropriate tax revenues from them.

The Ministry of Communications would like to assure Ghanaians that the necessary due diligence was carried out during the processes that led to the selection of KelniGVG. A lot of care was taken not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The contractual obligations of the parties are clearly defined. KelniGVG has issued a performance bond to demonstrate its commitment to deliver the Solution to meet the requirements of the Implementing Agencies (GRA and NCA). Under the BUILD, OPERATE, MANAGE and TRANSFER model, the contract signed has a clear roadmap and deliverables. The installation of the Common Platform is in progress and the Central Monitoring System is fully equipped. The Installation is expected to be operational before the end of July 2018.

The risk  of  losses  on the  international  incoming  calls  can  be  fairly estimated  to  be  more than $150,000   for   the   three  months   even   while   the   Solution   is   not   yet  fully  launched.

The equipment being installed by KelniGVG is for monitoring only. They are purely passive and will not disturb the functioning of operator systems. Similarly, there will be no violation of the Data and Privacy Laws of Ghana resulting from KelniGVG services. All the staff working on the project  have  signed  Non-Disclosure  Agreements  in  accordance  with  global  best  practice  and standards.   We   insist   on   the   full   and   effective   application   of   the   laws   of   the   land.

It is normal for a company like KelniGVG which is assisting Government regulators to verify revenues and promote transparency in any sector to be unpopular with institutions which benefit from and take advantage of the lack of systems that provide such transparency and visibility and to be attacked. We will plug these revenue gaps, and provide the Government with revenue to provide  critical  infrastructure  for  development.  This  is  the  promise  that  this  Government  has made and intends to deliver on.

The government is committed to transparency and the provision of the necessary protection for every Ghanaian in the use and verification of their hard-earned Cedis, so, that we may as a nation reach the  target  of  self-sustenance,  taking  Ghana  Beyond  Aid;  by  plugging  all  leakages  and diversion of our revenue. As the President has said consistently, THIS IS NON NEGOTIABLE.

 

 

 

Signed

Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful

Minister of Communications.

 

 

 

Ghana | Atinkaonline.com | Isaac Nuamah Yeboah 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghana | Atinkaonline.com | Isaac Nuamah Yeboah