11 February 2016

Ghana: President Mahama, Please Open Your Eyes


The National Communication Authority (NCA) have come under a barrage of criticisms following the fraudulent manner figures were changed to favour one company, which has subsequently won the bid to operate the Interconnection Clearing House.

Having been caught flat footed, the NCA yesterday tried to proffer an explanation as to why Afriwave was accredited scores that it did not deserve, which eventually won them the contract. The NCA, in its elucidation through a statement signed by the Acting Director General, William Tevie, said in the preparation of the report, they transposed the scores from Excel to Microsoft Word, but noticed that there were some transpositional errors, which were corrected to correspond with the original Excel scores. This means that high scores given to Afriwave in the process leading to the award of the contract was a mistake.

The so called clarification has, however, exacerbated the situation because I.T. experts have come out to state clearly that copying documents from excel to word should not result in any mistake. The Chronicle does not have any evidence that some big shots in government have vested interest in the whole ICH operation deal, but emerging development is pointing to that direction.

Here are a few examples -the NCA, in a letter dated October 30, 2015, signed by the Acting Director-General, William Tevie, ordered Subah Infosolutions, which is on contract to monitor revenue from the telecom operators on behalf of the state, to "cease operations in the telecoms sector by Thursday, November 12, 2015," or face legal sanctions.

The NCA said it had looked at the contract GRA awarded Subah to do real time monitoring of international traffic for revenue assurance and realized Subah needed a license from the NCA, but it has no license. "In the absence of a license from the Authority (NCA), Subah cannot continue to operate in the telecommunications industry as it is illegal to do so."

"Consequently, you are by this letter advised to take immediate steps in any event not later than Thursday, 12th November, 2015, to cease operations in the telecommunications sector, failing which the Authority shall not hesitate to apply the prescribed sanctions under its enabling statutes," Tevie's letter directed.

Five days after writing this letter, the NCA followed up with yet another letter, dated November 4, 2015, but this time signed by the Deputy Director-General, Albert Enninful, which formerly introduced Afriwave Telecoms Ghana Limited to the telecom operators as the licensed entity to carry out real time monitoring of international traffic.

The letter, headlined - "LICENSE FOR INTERNATIONAL MONITORING OF TRAFFIC," copied to all telcos in the country asked the telcos to "kindly note that Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited has been licensed by the NCA, pursuant to its regulatory mandate to carry out international monitoring of traffic and you are by this letter directed to permit them to have their probes attached to your respective systems.

"It is our expectation that all operators in the industry will extend the necessary support and cooperation to Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited to enable them carry out their obligations," the letter added. The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which appointed Subah, objected to the directive from NCA, insisting that Subah had a valid contract to monitor the revenue for government.

At the time NCA wrote to the telcos not to deal with Subah, it knew the latter had a contract that run up to the end of May, this year, but in its haste to get Afriwave to start work, it overlooked this contractual agreement. It is based on this, that The Chronicle finds it curious, about the changing of scores in favour of Afriwave, during the bidding process, which eventually won them the contract.

When the controversial GH51m was paid to Woyome, government officials handling the case justified to the late President Mills why the money must be paid. The payment became a pain in the neck of the president, until he was called by his maker. The Afriwave deal appears to be treading on the same trajectory with government officials obviously feeding the president with juicy stories to justify why Afriwave won the bid.

The Chronicle is, therefore, advising President Mahama to open his eyes and properly probe the ICH bidding process before he falls into the same trap that was used to ambush his former boss, President Mills of blessed memory.

Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, a former Minister of Local Government and Rural development told GoodNews FM in Takoradi somewhere in 2003 that President Rawlings used to have counter intelligence to verify all information supplied him by his ministers and other government officials.

If President Mahama does not have this kind of system in place, it would be better for him to start thinking about it. He is the president and he bears the brunt of any negative thing that happens under his government. What is happening at NCA is very pathetic and the earlier an action is taken, the better it would be for the president and the nation.


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