As Court Orders Ministry To Release Documents
An Accra High Court, has ordered the Communications Ministry to make available all documents relating to the controversial revenue monitoring deal between the government and Kelni GVG to two citizens, and a pressure group, Citizens Ghana movement.
The court gave the Ministry, a deadline of July 9 to comply with the order. The judge, Justice Anthony Yeboah, inquired from the Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah, who was present in court, how soon they could make them available.
In response, Mr. Andah, indicated that they needed between four days to a week to provide the documents.
This comes amid reports that the National Communications Authority (NCA) has decided not to have anything to do with the US$178 million Kelni GVG controversial leaving the Communications Ministry to answer all questions.
The Herald is informed that, recent meeting between the Communications Ministry and the NCA over the Kelni GVG dea,l ended on a bad note with the NCA and Deputy Communication Minister George Andah, exchanging words.
The order, follows an application by two citizens, John Ato Bonful, Naana Adom Kanyi and the Citizens Ghana Movement one side, praying the court to give them access to the documents since it’s a matter of national interest.
The Court ordered the Ministry of Communications, to release all documents covering the controversial Kelni GVG contract to the applicants who are in Court, challenging the contract on the basis that some provisions in the contract if executed will amount to a breach of their Fundamental Human Rights to Privacy.
The Court directed the State to submit the documents to the registry because the letter submitted as part of the application by the plaintiffs demanding the release of the contractual documents did not identify and or specific the person who will be responsible for receiving the documents. The court in its wisdom therefore concluded that the State should file them at the registry for the lawyers of the applicants to go for it.
The applicants are before the Court because they insist that having followed the public debate and upon further enquiry, they gathered that the 1st (Ministry of Communication), 2nd (National Communication Authority) and 3rd (Ghana Revenue Authority) respondents, who are primarily responsible for the implementation of the common platform intend to carry out the exercise in a manner which will be in breach of the applicant’s fundamental human right to privacy.”
The plaintiffs claim that the architecture of the common platform to be implemented is such that instead of connecting to only the billing node provided by the telecom companies as stipulated under Act 864, the connection will be made to all the physical nodes, and it will be a breach of Article 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution. According to the applicants, the mobile networks have a statutory duty to protect their customers, including the plaintiffs under Section 73 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775) by ensuring that correspondence and communications of customers are not intercepted or interfered with.
They insisted that in the current form, a third party acting on behalf of the government even without a court order can intercept communications and correspondences, including text messages and voice calls of customers of mobile network operators.
The applicants also believe that the intended implementation of the common platform constitutes a real threat to the enjoyment of their fundamental human right to privacy, adding that the implementation of the common platform and its attendant breach of the applicant’s right to privacy will be irreparable.
Meanwhile, an application instituted at the Human Rights High Court by Ms Sara Asafu-Adjaye and Mr. Maximus Amertogoh, praying it to stop the implementation of the real-time traffic monitoring of mobile phone communication will be ruled on July 5.
The two Ghanaian citizens; Sara Asafu-Adjaye and Maximus Amertogoh, are seeking, among others, an interlocutory injunction to restrain the government and its assigns from implementing and operationalizing a Common Platform to monitor revenues of telecommunication companies was adjourned to today the 3rd of July 2018 for hearing because the judge needed some time to study the documents as filed by the parties.
Members of the Ghana Anti-corruption Coalition along with other civil society groups, had served notice they would go to court over the deal.
This was after the Coalition’s petition to the government and the Communication Ministry asking to be furnished with documents relating to the contract.
The Communications Officer of the Coalition, Abdul-Kudus Hussein, in an earlier interview with Citi News described the contract as fishy, saying their request for answers from government yielded no results.
“One of the specific requests we made was to get all material information and supporting documentation relating to the procurement process leading to the award of the contract to KelniGVG,” he stated.
The Coalition made a six-point demand to the ministry “only for the ministry to reply saying they are in the process of locating the document,” Abdul-Kudus Hussein recalled.
This eventually led to the suit by the Citizen Ghana Movement together with IMANI Africa.
So far, there are four suits against this particular deal valued at 89 million dollars.