Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, February 22, 2016
Pressure group OccupyGhana is on the heels of the National Communications Authority (NCA) over the so-called Interconnect Clearinghouse (“ICH”) for the telecoms sector which has given rise to the award of a contract and licence towards the implementation of the policy.
The group wants the NCA to furnish it with every document, report or agreements in respect of the ICH contract, which was controversially awarded to Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited.
The NCA and its supervising Ministry of Communications have been in the news lately following a mind-blowing expose by policy analysis think-tank, IMANI Ghana, that an evaluation panel set up by the authority to assess five companies that put in bids to run the ICH platform, rigged the process in favour of Afriwave.
According to IMANI Ghana president Franklin Cudjoe, the NCA evaluation panel did everything to ensure that Afriwave was awarded the multi-million contract by padding figures.
The NCA later hit back at IMANI’s claim and said the processes leading to the award of the ICH contract were transparent and in accordance with the laws of the country.
In the ensuing melee, OccupyGhana requested President John Mahama to set up an independent body to investigate the licence issuance process in the light of IMANI Ghana’s allegations against the NCA.
At a news conference in Accra last Friday, Sydney Caseley-Hayford, a leading member of OccupyGhana, said the group had since last year been formally pursuing the NCA to provide answers in respect of the ICH policy but to no avail.
The group is speculating that recent controversies over the ICH licence might be the main reason the NCA and the sector ministry had been unable to provide answers relating to the whole ICH policy and added that members were relying on Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution to compel the authority to provide the answers.
They said they wanted minutes and/or notes of all related meetings and discussions involving the ministry’s personnel, ministers and deputy ministers, directors and outside persons, prior to NCA making its policy recommendation to the Ministry of Communication.
OccupyGhana further said it was asking the NCA for details of all public or stakeholder consultations carried out prior to the purported adoption of the ICH policy.
Additionally, the group wants all documentation and notes relating to any formal or informal meeting in which the adoption and approval of the purported policy were discussed and submitted to the Office of the President for Cabinet approval.
OccupyGhana again waded into the infamous GYEEDA corruption scandal saying, “With respect to the GYEEDA matter, OccupyGhana is honestly not impressed by the rate of collection by government of monies paid to companies by GYEEDA, so we started chasing the matter after reading portions of the Auditor-General’s 2013 Report on MDAs.”
The group said after writing several letters requesting for information, it received a letter from Centre for Development Partners - one of the beneficiary companies - claiming they never received any loan of GH₵300,000 from GYEEDA and notified the ministry subsequently.
“After receiving an unsatisfactory response, we wrote directly to the Attorney General on 11th August, 2015, requesting same information but our letter was also ignored.
“OccupyGhana has decided to use a more forceful approach in seeking information and we began yesterday by hitting the courts with information on the Smartty’s bus branding issue; and more will be following in due course,” the pressure group stressed.