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$89m Kelni GVG Contract Is a Good Deal For Ghanaians - Communications Minister   
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Ursula Owusu
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Communications Minister, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has warned critics against making any attempts to impugn the integrity of Kelni-GVG, the Communications and Finance Ministries in the $89 million saga.

There is ongoing debate on government's $89 million contract with Kelni GVG to check revenue losses and simbox fraud involving telecommunication multinational businesses.

According to the President of IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, the contract is needless as it amounts to duplication of jobs which will result in the depletion of the country's resources.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, May 31, 2018, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful dismissed any controversies over the contract with Kelni GVG.

She told Speaker of the House, Prof. Mike Oquaye, that the deal is to safeguard Ghanaians and also streamline the communications sector.

She noted that it is in the "interest of the good people of Ghana to safeguard revenues that ought to accrue to the state", further explaining that the National Security has done due diligence on Kelni GVG and "confirmed the credibility and technical capacity of the company . . . "

"Strident attempts have been made in the past few days to impugn the integrity of Kelni-GVG and impute ill motives to the MoC and MoF for concluding this contract. Nothing could be further from the truth . . . As far back as 2009, National Security conducted extensive due diligence on GVG and confirmed the credibility and technical capacity of the company in writing (ref:NSCS40/V.10/1231 of 28th April 2009). Those who were earning large sums of money for virtually no work done will be unhappy with the collapse of their lucrative business and will fight back. Their tentacles run deep. It is not in the interest of the telecom multinationals and local business concerns for government to have this full visibility of their transactions. What do they have to hide? They fought it in the past with similar arguments and are fighting it now. I have a sense of de ja vu! Who benefits if this contract is cancelled? We are determined and stand resolute to enforce and apply Act 864 to the letter. We will not waver or relent in this," she told the Speaker.

The Sector Minister also added that the contract awarded to Kelni GVG will not amount to duplication as purported by the IMANI President and other critics.

"Fact - this is not a duplication of any existing contract. No other system or company is currently providing this service. The mobile money interoperability platform of GHIPPs monitors transactions between two or more Telcos and the banks but does not monitor transactions on one network. The CMP does so.

"Fact- we are not paying for no work done. Neither the NCA nor the GRA currently has the capability of providing this service and have indicated so. The CMP will provide real time monitoring of all traffic volumes on all networks as has never happened before; it is currently conducting anti-fraud testing as envisaged; the Network Operations Centre has been set up, connected and equipped with hardware and software. Everything is ready for all operators to be connected and they were notified on 11th May 2018. They have one month from this date to connect failing which the requisite sanctions will be applied in accordance with the law; training of NCA/GRA personnel is ongoing. A team just returned from training in Spain. All deliverables and timelines under the contract have been met to date".

Another fact she established is that the National Communications Authority (NCA) Board hasn't had any of its member resigning as a result of the contract.

" . . no NCA Board Member has resigned because of this contract", she said and further disclosed that there is also "no 10 year contract worth $178m. There is a 5 year $89m contract which may be renewed subject to stated conditions being fulfilled. This is far better than the $150m plus we paid for the past 5 years for very little value".

On the integrity of Kelni GVG, the Minister defended the company saying "Kelni-GVG is not a foreign company. It is a joint venture between a Ghanaian Company registered in 1995 with experience in Electrical Engineering, IT solutions and systems in addition to other business interests, and GVG which has 20 years experience in Telecoms revenue assurance and IT solutions. They do have a website and their office is in Labone, not Osu or Kokomemle . . . They currently operate in Rwanda and Uganda among other countries and have been selected to establish the roaming and traffic exchange platform across Africa. This is the Africa Regional Traffic Exchange and Financial Settlement (ARTEF) platform being implemented by the Smart Africa Initiative to harmonise call tariffs within network countries and promote the routing of inbound and outbound telecoms traffic locally on the continent, bypassing the international traffic wholesalers and reducing call charges".

Source: Ameyaw Adu Gyamfi/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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