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Ursula blasts IMANI, others as Kelni GVG’s monitoring takes off

Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful has chided think tanks and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that opposed the controversial Kelni GVG deal.

Speaking at the launch of the common platform on Monday, the Sector Minister said the Communications Ministry never intended to infringe on the privacy of Ghanaians as suggested by these think tanks and CSOs

“There was never an intention to infringe on the privacy of citizens’ communication through the common platform. That was put out by so-called Think Tanks and Civil Society Organizations which led to some even sponsoring lawsuits against the Common Platform. The injunction application was thrown out thankfully by the High Court which indicated that they were borne out of fanciful fears. They have finally heeded the wisdom of sound counsel and discontinued all other lawsuits against the platform without liberty to apply.”

While urging various stakeholders to contribute to the successful implementation of the platform objectively, the Minister also asked all mobile network operators to cooperate with the NCA and GVG to successfully implement the programme.

“I urge all mobile network operators to cooperate with the NCA and GVG and provide the information they need to monitor mobile money as well…We welcome all comments and suggestions that will improve upon the implementation of the common platform but hope that it will be based on proven facts and not be the figment of over-reactive imaginations and more fanciful fears.

“Our only motivation is to provide an objective means of verifying the information provided by the Telecom companies for tax revenue purposes in accordance with the law. For the first time in history, this platform is actually connected with the billing loads of all telecom operators as we speak. Ghana Beyond Aid will become a reality if we all pay our due and properly access taxes to finalise our own development.”

IMANI withdraws case 

IMANI, which described the deal as fraudulent recently has withdrawn its case against the government over the contract for reasons that include the lack of resources.

In a statement released on Monday, October 22, 2018, it emphasized that despite the development, it is looking for alternative approaches to push further its campaign against the deal since the cost component is still a concern for them.

“IMANI remains resolute in its pursuit of the public interest. Even where resources limit its preferred approach to public interest work, it continues to mobilise public opinion and to look for alternative avenues for redress compatible with its limited means. IMANI never backs down on principles!” IMANI said.

Background

Kelni GVG was contracted by the government to develop and oversee the Common Platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance and mobile money monitoring.

The implementation of the Common Platform is in line with the Communication Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, Act 864.

A lot of the criticism of the deal, which is costing Ghana $89 million, has come from think tank IMANI Africa.
IMANI also raised privacy concerns while questioning the credibility of Kelni GVG.

It has maintained that this deal mirrors the controversial agreements the state entered into with Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd in 2010 and 2016 respectively.
IMANI had earlier petitioned the Vice President to revoke the contract.

Ursula rejects accusations

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

She said the accusations of corruption and underhand dealings are needless.

The government has assured that the necessary due diligence was carried out during the processes that led to the selection of Kelni GVG.

 

source: citinewsroom

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