Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, May 29, 2017
Infraloks Development Limited (IDL), the local company cited in the $4 million National Communications Authority (NCA) alleged looting case, has complained about how the Authority sidelined it in the execution of the contract that brought in ‘spying and phone tapping’ gadgets from Israel for the National Security Secretariat (NSS).
According to George Oppong, who represented IDL in the $8 million deal and was said to have benefitted from the alleged scandal, indicated that he was sidelined in the execution of certain aspects of the contract and was contemplating suing the NCA.
“IDL was not involved in the operational side of the transaction for what was said to be genuine national security reasons,” he said in a rejoinder.
“IDL believes in due process in the democratic dispensation and accordingly have our lawyers in readiness to, in due course, assert my rights and those of the company under the contract with the Republic through the appropriate lawful forum, should same become the inevitable resort.”
The contract was meant to buy ‘spying and phone tapping’ equipment for the National Security Secretariat, but $4 million out of the total contract sum of $8 million ended up in private accounts, with $1.5 million of the money allegedly going to the former NCA board of directors who were appointed by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
NSO Group Deal
Information Minister Mustapha Hamid has already said that John Mahama’s administration had contracted NSO Group Technology Limited of Israel to supply eavesdropping gadgets worth $6 million and the equipment were meant to help the government monitor the calls of suspected terrorists.
However, in the course of the transaction, according to the information minister, a local agent – Infraloks Development Limited – headed by George Oppong, charged $2 million as facilitation fee, bringing the total amount to $8 million instead of $6 million.
Mr. Oppong in his explanation in the rejoinder, stated that there is a binding contract executed on December 17, 2015 between IDL and the NCA as well as between NSO Group Technologies Limited of Israel.
He confirmed that the contract sum total was $8 million and that $6 million was to be due to NSO with certificate of end-user from the Ministry of Defence of Israel, adding that “The duties and responsibilities of NSO and IDL were clearly embodied in the contracts with minimal role by the NCA representing the Republic of Ghana as the end-user.”
Mr Oppong said, “Initially, the payment to NSO by IDL was to be made minus a commission agreement to be paid by IDL to another Israeli company – Aggura - but amendments by way of addendum to the original contract with NSO required full payment to NSO and for NSO to deal directly with Aggura.”
He said that the NCA did make a first tranche payment of $4,000,000 in accordance with the terms of the contract with it (NCA) and they followed the agreed payment terms in the contract.
According to Mr. Oppong, although the NCA had taken delivery of the gadgets and promised to supply IDL with Customs documentation covering the delivery of the hardware equipment as agreed between the IDL and the Bank of Ghana, “NCA has since June 2016 when it cleared the equipment, not provided the Customs documentation covering the clearance to IDL, despite persistent demand.
“After the clearance, IDL facilitated a visit of a team of technicians from NSO to Ghana to install and commission the system, and that I was informed, two weeks later, by NCA that the installation and the commissioning of the system had been completed.”
“It is significant to note that IDL was not involved in the operational side of the transaction for what was said to be genuine national security reasons, informing the bank’s requirement for written confirmation by NCA to IDL on completion of each phase of the project,” he said.
Mr. Oppong maintained, “In spite of this, it would be discovered that NCA, curiously, had written only to the bank and NSO to confirm, among others, delivery of equipment and installation of same by NSO.”
The local representative underscored that the sponsor (NCA), “In the meantime, sought through its signatory to the contract and obtained sums in amounts allowed by forex transaction regulations and same reaching a cumulative gross amount of about $1,500,000.”
“I have informed the authorities that out of the total amount of $4,000,000, NCA transferred to IDL $1,000,000; was successfully transferred to NSO. NCA’s signatory to the contract has sought and obtained a cumulative gross of about $1,500,000 and that IDL still held $1,500,000 which NSO’s portion could not be transferred for the stated reasons.”
According to Mr. Oppong, although NCA informed NSO through IDL that it had paid $2,000,000, the NSO continued to demand payment from IDL for completion of the second phase of the project using and relying on a letter from NCA to NSO which maintained that “the installation and commissioning phase of the project was complete, and that NSO insists that payment obligations were undertaken by IDL, threatening a suit as the overdue amount is subject to a late payment fee at a daily rate of 0.04%.
“I am very disappointed to discover, courtesy the National Security Minister, in the most shocking fashion that contrary to representations by NCA, including via said letter of June 10, 2016 from NCA to NSO that the system was sitting in someone’s garage.”
He said details about the transaction had been made available to the BNI “in utmost good faith and without prejudice as I give my fullest cooperation in its investigations.”