Franklin Cudjoe & Ursula Owusu In War of Words

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Over US$89 Million Telecom Deal With “Dodgy” Company

The Ministry of Communications, has refuted claims by IMANI Africa that, its contract with KelniGVG for the provision of oversight and revenue assurance monitoring, was a duplication of roles.

A statement issued and signed by the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, last Friday, said this current deal was rather providing significant savings for the state for even more work done than in past deals.

“Contrary to claims by IMANI that the contract awarded to the new company is a drain on the resources of the country, the Minister insists Ghana is making a monthly savings of $1.1 million on account of KelniGVG’s engagement,” the statement said.

IMANI Africa, sounded an alarm over the details of the deal and called for its termination. IMANI, called the KelniGVG dubious, as its doubts its credibility, competence, experience, saying although the company had said it had been in operation for the past 22 years, its websites was established just December, last year.

It is not clear, who owns KelniGVG, but IMANI, has linked it to the Haitian- based GVG.

The President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, argued that the deal mirrored the controversial deals the state entered into with Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd in 2010 and 2016 respectively.

These deals were criticised by the now-governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), when it was in opposition.

Aware of this, the Ministry of Communications assured “that the necessary due diligence was carried out during the processes that led to the selection of KelniGVG. A lot of care was taken not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

“Also, prior to this new arrangement, all relevant stakeholders were made aware of the fact that previous contractors’ services, namely that of Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave relating to traffic and revenue assurance monitoring were in effect, TERMINATED. There can, therefore, be no duplication as alleged by Imani,” the statement added.

When the NPP came into power in 2017, it held a stakeholder conference and the outcome of the consultation process was for the National Communications Authority (NCA) to amend the Interconnect Clearinghouse (ICH) Licence to restrict them to clearinghouse operations and for Ghana Revenue Authority to abrogate the contract with Subah.

“After the forum, a new procurement process was launched in accordance with the law, to select a suitable vendor to meet the requirements defined by the NCA and GRA and in December 2017, the contract was awarded to a Ghanaian entity, duly registered under the laws of the Republic of Ghana called KelniGVG Limited.”

IMANI, has since responded to Ministry of Communications (MoC); saying “Your Response to Publication Opens A Huge Can of Telecom ‘Worms’”

​c. IMANI’s Response

  1. So if the pre-existing contracts have been terminated, why is there a current injunction by Subah? Subah has taken MoC, NCA to court and won an injunction which restricted the Telcos from dealing with any new service provider because they have a legitimate contract with government. Why will the MoC not wait to close all outstanding issues with Afriwave and Subah but proceed to issue letters of termination and assume that is how contracts are terminated?
  2. At the February 2017 Holiday Inn meeting, IMANI has been engaged that indeed the alignment was for the NCA and GRA to own the capacity to do the monitoring of revenues, but everyone is shocked that another private company has been engaged at a staggering cost of $90Million monitor and find what exactly?
  3. Why is the Minister who is a lawyer paying almost $1.5million a month for 5 years to a new company to look for what does not exist or waste time on mistrust? If Minister talks about international benchmarks and standards, don’t we rather pay the company only if they find hidden revenue? Is that not how companies who come to look for oil get paid? Should it not be you find, you earn a percentage? The Ministry’s own statement says they contracted GVG in December 2017 but their activities/ services will only be functional in July 2018. So, why pay them $1.5m a month for being non-functional until July 2018?
  4. See by our checks, none of the major Telcos have connected to anything GVG. The fully equipped common Monitoring system referred to by the Minister is probably equipped devices which are a figment of their imagination and certainly is not anything the mobile telecom industry is aware of.
  5. How rationalizing $2.5m to $1.5 from voodoo contracts does makes you assume you are saving so you can enjoy from a bad contract? Exactly what basis was used to cost the service, and what exactly is the work order being executed to warrant outstanding payments of $7.5million till date?A Ghana beyond aid will not happen with projects that do not pass value for money audits tests.
  6. What is the actual estimate of calls lost to simbox fraud per month that should require monthly outlays of $1.4 million? We need the data on estimated losses through SIMBOX fraud, and that data should tell all Ghanaians whether the SIIT related law in itself isn’t redundant.
  7. In testing the system so far, is there any variance between CDR data and the data they purport to be getting from GVG’s system?
  8. The GHIPPS system is the clearing house that clears all of Ghana’s formal financial transactions at the moment. Is the Ministry of Communication saying that GHIPPS data cannot be trusted and therefore they need extra systems to validate OUR NATIONAL clearinghouse data?
  9. Are we saying that we simply trust that the data checks will not be intrusive just because NDAs were signed? Are the GVG people angels? What is the actual technical specification of the systems they are putting in place and how exactly is user data being obfuscated? We know in the case of the CDRs the caller phone numbers were hashed in the reports. Tell us how by connecting directly to telcos in their internal infrastructure in such an intrusive manner this will be executed.
  10. Can we trust a company that is being paid $89 million over 5 years not to have a simple website, when even table top entrepreneurs with annual turnover of 1000 cedis / $250 have websites?
  • Why are they so secretive?
  • Why don’t they have a secure website?
  • Why do they not have search indexes on Google?
  • Why, as a technology company since 1995 they do not have any clients listed on their websites?
  • Why do they have a dubious domain hosting redirect platform? Even the CIA and the NSA have actual websites with actual information
  • How do we pay $89 million with an automatic renewal of another $89 million over 10 years for an IT company which does not even pay attention to simple and basic website protocols?
  • How Come the website of the company was registered only after Christmas last year, even after they signed a contract?
  • How Come not a SINGLE engineer or IT specialist of them has their CV anywhere?
  1. How was the procurement done under the supposed laws of Ghana, and what does the law saw for contracts about $90million dollars? No tender? No due diligence, their website exposes a lot.
  2. Who is fronting for GVG? Can we start seeing their owners?
  3. Mobile money monitoring? Who’s purview? Is mobile money which is aiding financial inclusion a taxed service to guarantee monitoring? This is a needless component of this deal. Central Bank and MoF is in charge of the financial space.
  4. In any case where is the Finance Minister’s signature on the contract and on this statement only the MoC is driving?
  5. They should call the Attorney General and ask where she is, in all this ongoing court cases injunctions and cancellation of contracts.
  6. 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.
  7. In summary we refer to Mr. Kwaku Sakyi Addo’s statements in 2014 which called Subah “irredeemably incompetent” or fatally fraudulent” for being paid 75million for no work done. These comments are rich even today and maybe we should start hearing also from the author who is the current board chairman of the NCA paying these monies to GVGKelni

SUSPICIOUS EXHIBITS FROM THE WEBSITE OF COMPANY GVGKELNI

Please take a good look at the company that will be handling your data and for which we have handed them a little under $90m contract to monitor calls and ensure revenue, both requiring some appreciable of security. See all exhibits attached.

Exhibit one: Website was registered on 27th December 2017 but the registrants have been hidden. This company was said to be registered in 1995 in Ghana, but only got its scanty website registered in 2017 listing virtually no experience in undertaking the tasks they have been awarded millions of $$. GVGkelni is a subsidiary of the Haitian- based GVG.
Exhibit 2: The website is not secure. This is a company handling our secure telephone conversations, text messages and MoMo platforms, yet their most basic window to the world shows an insecure website which even after typing the right link (www.kelnigvg.com) leads to a very dubious looking URL in the photo below.

Exhibits 3 & 4: Compare to Parcus Group, and ARAXXE, which offer similar services. You will see the secure tab and the website prefix https:// and a padlock sign, showing that the most basic levels of security are on the website. This is a mark of a professional entity

Exhibit 5: On the Homepage is The Telecom Gurus. Ironically, when you click on Learn More, this is what you are educated with:

Exhibit 6: What you see when you click learn more about our Telecom Gurus: They are all placeholders from a WordPress template made by designers called Ancora, in fact, the face book and twitter links on the site lead to Ancora Themes. You can go ahead and click it

Exhibit 7: Their impressive list of clients after 22 years in operation in about 7 different service areas are on this page. As you can see, the clients are probably the number of alphabets on the page.

Exhibit 8: Just so you know there are no other such domains registered, here is a who search result is:

  1. One may ask the question, that why is it that a company commanding such millions and such sensitive information can’t even get a website right?
  2. Can we trust a company that is being paid $89 million over 5 years not to have a simple website, when even table top entrepreneurs with annual turnover of 1000 cedis have websites?

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