General News of Thursday, 12 December 2019
The KelniGVG common platform deal meant to police revenue made by the telcos is a “white elephant” which is “only siphoning money from suffering Ghanaians under the pretext of telecommunication revenue assurance”, Ningo-Prampram MP Samuel Nartey George has said.
Speaking at the seventh edition of the Moment of Truth series of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr George said a gang of government people have teamed up and using the common platform to steal $180 million from the Ghanaian taxpayer in 10 years.
“For those of you familiar with the Netflix series, Money Heist, this is Ghana’s version”, Mr George told journalists, adding that it is “a clear, calculated attempt to fleece the taxpayer to the tune of $US90 million over a 5-year period with another $US90 million for an extension of 5 years”.
“This amounts to a whopping $US180 million from our pockets”.
“At today’s conservative exchange rate of GHS5.65 to $US1, this comes to GHS1, 017,000,000 – over one billion Ghana Cedis (GHS1 billion).
“This amount is equivalent to the entire cost of the Kasoa Interchange and its ancillary projects or the state-of-the-art Ridge Hospital. This amount of money can build 113 complete Mahama E-blocks at the cost of GHS9 million per school.
“It can also build seven (7) more brand-new district hospitals like the spectacular Dodowa District Hospital at a cost of $US25 million each. Furthermore, this amount of money would build 1,271 6-unit classroom blocks at the current price of GHS800, 000. These 1,271 classroom blocks would mean almost 5 of these 6-unit classroom blocks for each of the 275 constituencies in Ghana”, he computed.
These examples, he noted, “Illustrate how much has been created to be looted and shared by apparatchiks of the Akufo-Addo administration. The KelniGVG contract was signed by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta and Madam Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (Ministers of Finance and Communication, respectively)”.
“Their proximity to President Akufo-Addo is public knowledge. IMANI Ghana and several others yelled, wailed and cried to no avail. Where there is create, loot and share, Nana Akufo-Addo hears no evil. Indeed, he even sees no evil even if it is within his government. This is the problem that a government of family-and-friends by family and friends; and for family and friends visits on a nation”.
“Strangely”, the lawmaker noted, “The Minister of Communication, recently, at a Meet-the-Press briefing, made fallacious claims about savings due to the common monitoring platform. I challenged her on the floor of Parliament and she is yet to find her voice in response to the facts.
“If the Minister claims the KelniGVG platform has saved GHS205 million from sim box fraud, who has been prosecuted or even put before court? Where are the sim box machines that should have been confiscated as we saw under President Mahama, which led to the prosecution and imprisonment of the former boss of Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Dr Alex Tweneboah?” he asked.
Mr George said: “The Communication Minister also claimed that the platform has detected under-invoicing by the telcos. The facts show the contrary. In fact, in one instance, the platform billed GHS17 million less than the manual GRA assessment of one of the telcos. The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication has challenged the minister to provide proof of under-invoicing by any of their members since the 20th of November 2019. Again, she has gone mute. Under-invoicing is criminal and you would have expected to see penalties and sanctions imposed on any such entity if that was the case”.
He wondered: “The entire KelniGVG platform is sitting in the premises of the NCA. The question we need to ask is: how much is KelniGVG paying for rental of the floor space? How much are they paying for utilities (light and water)? Are they using a state facility for private gain and getting paid on top?”
“Even though we, in the NDC, support growing Ghanaian businesses, we believe in doing so in accordance with the laws of the land. There are multiple breaches of the procurement laws and the entire procurement processes that led to the signing of the contract between the company and ministers Ken Ofori-Atta and Ursula Owusu-Ekuful. The process is replete with irregularities. In effect, a few people have ganged up and are raping the public purse with reckless abandon while Ghanaians are saddled with, in excess of GH8 million every month to the individuals behind KelniGVG and their sponsors in government”.