Parliament summons Ursula Owusu over $89m telecom deal

Parliament has summoned the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful to the House to answer questions on the Kelni/GVG deal next week.

Think Tank IMANI Africa has accused the Communications Ministry of signing a deal that mirrors the State’s controversial agreements with Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd in 2010 and 2016 respectively.The Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah had indicated that the Minister had been scheduled to meet the Communications committee next week, but after several calls from MPs, the 2nd Deputy Speaker, Alban Bagbin ruled that the Minister appears before the plenary next week.

“There is nothing to hide. It is important that this be brought to the knowledge of the people of this country through their representatives on the floor of the House. I do not think the committee should take it up because we have not yet developed the rules for committees to be open to the general public, so it is proper that she appears before the House to give a brief. That is the instrument that the House has decided to use and I was so direct that the business committee should schedule the Minister to appear before the House next week to brief the House on this matter,” Mr Bagbin said.IMANI Africa first sounded an alarm over the details of the agreement and called for its immediate termination.

But in a statement issued and signed by Communications Ministry, the government said this deal is instead providing significant savings for the state for even more work done than in past deals.The Communications Ministry also assured that it carried out due diligence on the matter and that “a lot of care was taken not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”Data of Ghanaians at risk.’

Mr Cudjoe, however, rubbished the Ministry of Communications’ clarification,saying the Minister’s response only “opens a huge can of telecom worms.”

In justifying calls for the abrogation of the deal with KelniGVG, Mr Cudjoe said the company, though registered in 1995, only got its website registered in 2017, adding that no experience had been listed in undertaking the tasks they had been awarded millions for.

Mr Cudjoe further argued that the deal will only put the data of Ghanaians at risk, saying “Ghanaians will have their data threatened if they allow this GVG company to play with their phone calls, chats, everything. Mind you; this is a company with a website that is so vague it is phoney, with very strange characters behind it since all it has, for a security company of its pedigree, are stock photos.”

Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd were said to have been paid millions of cedis for no significant output.