The media "war" between IMANI, Ghana and the Ministry of Communications over the award of contract to Kelni GVG seemed far from over as both parties continue to issue news releases to explain their positions.
The Ministry of Communication has issued a release to refute the content of an earlier release by IMANI'S president , Franklin Cudjoe who called on the government to abrogate the new contract immediately as it was a duplication of operations and a drain on scarce national resources.
Mr Cudjoe in that statement had questioned the rationale behind the signing of a new contract when there was no clarity as to the statute of the mandate of the previous contractors, Subah and Afriwave who were operating in the revenue assurance space.
"There has not been any defined and clear performance parameters set for the contracts related to Subah and later Afriwave and it is therefore, very difficult to decipher whether their services provide value for money. Indeed, there has been no such report of under performance by the stakeholders that contracted Subah.
"The issue then is why did the Ministry of Communications go ahead and sign a new contract under the name of a common monitoring platform for a service that is already being rendered under an existing contract by a, fellow government agency"? Mr Cudjoe queried in the statement.
However, in a response to his queries, the Ministry of Communications in a release stated that it had terminated the contracts of both Subah Infosolutions Limited and Afriwave Limited.
The statement signed by Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Minister of Communications and issued in Accra said, the termination was necessary because there was a duplication of efforts by both companies.
The two companies were contracted in 2014 by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and National Communication Authority (NCA) in 2015 respectively to provide real-time traffic monitoring solution required for effective revenue assurance in the communication sector.
The disclosure comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding the new contract with KelniGVG to deal with revenue losses and SIMbox fraud in the telecommunication industry.
Justifying the award of the contract to the new firm, the statement said none of the two companies was providing the real-time traffic monitoring solution required for effective revenue assurance but were depending on Call Detail Records provided by the various mobile operators, information which was freely available to the NCA.
As a result, it said the government was paying both entities essentially for no work done.
The ministry, in a bid to clear the path for the establishment of the common platform in accordance with the law for proper revenue assurance, the statement said the ministry consulted the NCA to amend the Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) licence to restrict them from clearing house operations and for the GRA to abrogate the contract with Subah.
"Due to the lack of clarity regarding the implementation of the law on the establishment of a common platform, the ministry held a stakeholders forum on Tuesday, February 21, 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," the statement indicated.
In this regard, the statement noted that a new procurement process was launched, sanctioned by the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Finance, in accordance with the law, to select a suitable vendor to meet the requirements defined by the NCA and GRA.
In December last year, the contract was awarded to a Ghanaian entity, KelniGVG Limited, which was initially incorporated in October 1995, the statement added
It said the award was made in full compliance with the relevant laws in Ghana, unlike the contracts awarded to both Subah and Afriwave.
However, Mr Franklin Cudjoe, in a statement, called on the government to abrogate the new contract immediately as it was a duplication of operations and a drain on scarce national resources.
He questioned the rationale behind signing a new contract when there was no clarity as to the statuses of the mandate of the previous contractors who were operating in the revenue assurance space.
"There has not been any defined and clear performance parameters set for the contracts related to Subah and later Afriwave, and it is therefore very difficult to decipher whether their services provide value for money. Indeed, there has been no such report of underperformance by the stakeholders that contracted Subah. The issue then is, why did the Ministry of Communications go ahead and sign a new contract under the name of a common monitoring platform for a service that is already being rendered under an existing contract by a fellow government agency?" Mr Cudjoe stated.
With the issuance of the release, IMANI did not waste time at all in firing another salvo through a release questioning the competence of KelniGVG who according to them did not have a simple website yet were being paid 1.5 million dollars a month for five years to undertake the "project."
"By our checks, none of the major Telcos have connected to anything GVG. The fully equipped common monitoring system referred to by the minister is probably equipped devices which are a figment of their imagination and certainty is not anything the mobile telecom industry is aware of.
What is the actual estimate of calls lost to SIMbox fraud per month that require monthly outlays of 1.4 million dollars? We need the data on estimated losses through SIMbox fraud, and that data should tell Ghanaian whether the SIIT related law in itself isn't redundant; the statement asked.
The statement said the inistry's own statement said KelniGVG were contracted in December 2017 but their services would only be functional in July 2018, "so, why pay them 1.5 million dollars a month for being non-functional until July 2018?"
It questioned the rationale in paying 89 million dollars with an automatic renewal of another 89 million dollars over ten years for an IT Company which did not even pay, attention to simple and basic website protocols.
The statement said Ghanaians would have their data threatened if they allow GVG Company to play with their phone calls, chats and everything stating, "mind you this is a company with a website that is so vague and phoney, with very strange characters behind it since all it has for a security company of its pedigree, are stock photos."