|Audio Attachment:Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, says gov't will by the end of this week, name a three man team to meet with Vodafone reps in taking a second look at portions of the SPA of the GT/Vodafone deal.|
The Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, says government will by the end of this week, name a three man team to meet with Vodafone representatives in taking a second look at portions of the Sales and Purchase Agreement of the GT/Vodafone deal, most especially the National Fibre Optic Backbone and other landed properties.
According to him, government will decide on a “team comprising people with sound communication background, deep rooted financial accounting abilities and a lawyer”.
This follows a decision by government yesterday, to re-engage Vodafone UK over the 70% sale of GT.
Tough President Mills’ administration says they are not interested in reviewing the entire Sales and Purchase Agreement, they maintain that portions of it are inimical to the interest of the country, and they intend to correct it.
Speaking to Kwami Sefa-Kayi on PEACEFM’s flagship programme “Kokrokoo”, he said, “ideally, it is the wish of many Ghanaians that those assets (National Fibre Optic Backbone) should have been owned by government, but it became part of the assets that was given to Vodafone."
He however, added that; “in all this, we have to ensure that we do not hurt the image and reputation of Ghana as a safe and pure investment destination…for that government will do all it can to protect every legitimate investment.”
According to the Communications Minister, though the sale of 70% of GT shares to Vodafone International was $900m, only $274m was the amount of money finally realized. This is because, he said, a substantial part of the money was used to defray debts owed by Ghana Telecom accrued as a result of gross mismanagement, financial malpractices and irregularities by Telenor/Telecom Management Partners (TMP) and later the three-member Interim Management Committee (IMC).
He further disclosed that government will call for a forensic audit into that and also into how an amount of 1.7bn old Ghana cedis went unaccounted for.
“…they reached an agreement with somebody…debt collection…a payment of about ˘1.7bn…We will need to find out who received that money and where it came from…we will conduct investigations into the matter as well…since it contributed to the non-realization of value for money in the transaction…,” he said.
Hon. Iddrisu expressed regret that the divestiture process was not fully adhered to during negotiations on the GT sale to Vodafone.
“Our divestiture law was not respected by the previous government headed by Ex-President Kufuor. The fact that you are President or a Minister, does not allow you to do as you wish, you must do it in accordance with the law of Ghana…The acquisition of the 3G license should have followed laid down procedure and regulation under the National Communication Authority (NCA) Act…that was not fully respected, that is also an issue,” he added.
Source: Alex Ofei / peacefmonline
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