Wednesday, March 11, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

OccupyGhana, a socio-political non-partisan pressure group is piling pressure on the National Communications Authority (NCA) to get the regulator to reveal more information about the announcement of the award of the proposed Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) for the telecommunications sector.

According to the group which also campaigns against rampant corruption, they never received any acknowledgement for an earlier letter they sent to the NCA relying on Article 21(1) (f) of the constitution to request for clarity on the ICH policy which is scheduled to take off in May, 2015.

ICH policy
The government, through the NCA, is claiming that some telecommunication companies (Telcos) are involved in scams and also underpaying revenue due the government and as a result, said it was in the process of establishing an ICH that would require Telcos and International Carriers to connect their gateways via a clearing house.

Phone Tapping
However, critics say the NCA hurriedly arranged the ICH programme with little or no stakeholder input and contracted Afriwave Telecom Ghana Ltd as a mandatory ICH for all telecommunications service subscribers in Ghana effective May, 2015.

Some have even argued that the ICH policy is a means to tap into people’s privacy by listening to telephone calls.

Court Action
In the ensuing argument, MP for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng and two others filed a suit at an Accra High Court seeking to put a stopper on the whole ICH programme until all issues are put right.

The suit which has one Elijah Adansi-Bonah, a subscriber to the telecommunications services and Development Data, a policy research and advocacy institution as part of the plaintiffs cites the NCA and Afriwave Telecom Ghana Ltd as well as all telecoms service (mobile phone service) providers as the defendants.

NCA’s Snub
“It is most unfortunate that until now, OccupyGhana has neither received an official acknowledgement, nor a response to our letter,” the group said in a statement issued yesterday.

They said per their second letter, they were asking the NCA to provide additional information on the ‘purported ICH policy’ and it should be done within seven days.

The Queries
The group particularly wants the NCA to make available “Minutes, and/or notes of all related meetings and discussions involving NCA personnel, directors, board members, and outside persons, prior to NCA making its policy recommendation to the ministry per within NCA mandate.”

They also requested for “Minutes, and/or notes of all related meetings and discussions involving NCA personnel, directors, board members, Ministry of Communications personnel (including the minister and deputy ministers), and outside persons, whether initiated by NCA, the ministry, or any other person, in which recommendations from NCA or policy goals from the ministry were presented or discussed including without limitation.”

OccupyGhana further wants to know any analysis prior to the policy recommendation from the NCA to the ministry, by or at the request to NCA or received by the authority, including names of persons performing such analyses and their experience in the relevant area prior to NCA making its policy recommendation to the ministry per within NCA mandate.”

They said they want the names and titles of all NCA and other personnel contributing to the authority’s consultation paper, including their qualifications and personal experience with matters presented therein adding OccupyGhana wants “all materials received by NCA to its consultation paper, as received without editing.”

They also requested for “any document showing why and when the NCA decided to renege on its commitment to publish all responses to its consultation paper as it committed to do when it was released,” and further requested for “all applications received in respect of the license, in their entirety, without editing or redaction.”

They further asked for “minutes and/or note of all meetings and discussions regarding selection of the successful applicant for the license.”

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