Monday, 29 October 2018

KelniGVG launches CMP amidst controversies


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Adnan Adams Mohammed

Despite the lingering controversies surrounding the Kelni-GVG deal, information picked indicates that, the fully connected Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) under the management of Kelni-GVG on a build operate and transfer (BOT) deal was launched last week.

Sources say, all four telcos in the country have now fully connected their networks to the government’s Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) to enable traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, fraud management and mobile money monitoring.

The platform, had earlier sparked huge controversy over the US$1.5million monthly cost to the taxpayer. There were also concerns regarding a possible breach of customer privacy and data security.

After a protracted jaw-jaw in the media and a legal suit by some citizens, the stakeholders have come to a compromise.

Currently, the system is undergoing various levels of testing with the respective telcos towards full implementation later this month.


Some of the telcos also confirmed that indeed they are connected to the system and they have been informed by the Director-General of National Communications Authority (NCA) at a meeting that the platform will be launched on October 22, 2018.

But the telcos said they are yet to receive formal communication on the launch and take off of the platform. At least one telco, Glo Ghana confirmed that they are fully connected and completed all test so they are ready to go live any day.

They also stated that they are comfortable with the architecture of the KelniGVG system connected to their network and they do not have any concerns about interference with customer privacy.

The CMP contract with KelniGVG is for five years at a cost of US$89million. The contract is open for renewal for another five years if government feels the need to.

Its implementation is in fulfilment of the Communications Service Tax Law, which enjoins the Ministries of Finance and of Communications to establish a CMP for the purposes of revenue assurance, traffic monitoring, fraud management and mobile money monitoring to ensure the state gets the exact tax revenue due it from the operations of the telcos.

The system will monitor the billing platforms and communication traffic flow on the networks of the telcos in real time, without interfering with the content of the communication and with the personal details of customers.

Kelni-GVG has said that the system was built to conform with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2012, Act 843, so there is no cause for alarm.

Earlier, similar contracts with other companies did not deliver on the real-time partly because the telcos had always resisted attempts by government contractors to connect monitoring machines to their respective networks.

This is the first time a third-party company contracted by government has been allowed by the telcos to connect their real-time monitoring equipment to collect data for the purposes of revenue assurance.

Government is confident the CMP will guarantee the expected tax revenue from the telecom sector, but analyst believes government is on a wild goose chase with the implementation of the CMP because there is no guarantee the state will get any significant increase in revenue from the telecom industry.

Apparently, policy think-tank IMANI Africa has exposed another sham concerning the controversial US$89 million Kelni-GVG deal signed by the Government of Ghana and Haitian ICT firm, Kelni-GVG.

The think-tank known for waging relentless crusades against the contract in a detailed report available to Economy Times accused the Communications Ministry, headed by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful of engaging in a fraudulent act solely to ‘rape’ the country with the award of a 10-year contract worth US$178 million to Kelni-GVG.

The report titled “How Ministry of Communications raped Ghana through the Kelni-GVG sham” raises issues surrounding the deal giving key problems with the entire process that led to the award of the contract by showing the chronology, the procedures adopted by the ministry, the evaluation of tenders and the final outcome of the contract, IMANI believes it’s a rip-off.

Raising a number of abuses and concerns surrounding the deal, IMANI says the first thing noticeable is the haste at which the deal was conducted.

According to them, “in virtually all cases, no real due diligence information was available to the authority making the decision to approve or reject. For example, the Ministry of Finance received a letter asking it to consent to a multi-year contract valued at nearly $180 million, with absolutely no financial due diligence of the proposed EPC structure, and yet two working days later the Minister had been able to take a decision to sign. Anyone with even the barest notion of how government works in Ghana would appreciate the job queue in the average ministerial office, not to talk of the Finance Ministry of all places. Clearly, there was no intent to conduct due diligence. This problem is rampant across the chronology”.

Another concern was  why CRTC has not bothered even once to invite comments on the deal despite a pending petition from Subah alleging in very strong terms the illegality of the entire proceedings. According to IMANI, it is required by law for CRTC to meet at least once every three months but that has not been done.

IMANI further revealed that “checks at the Registrar General confirmed our fears when we originally reviewed the documentation available on the Kelni case. None of the four companies deliberately invited to the tender had any track record in the field of telecom revenue and traffic monitoring for which reason a restricted tender was warranted....NCA mischievously relaxed the requirement that the successful tenderer should have at least 3 years minimum track record.

Luckily, for this country, they were unable to remove the 5.5(e) requirement that the successful tenderer shows evidence that they have 10% of the contract price in the form of liquid assets or credit facilities. Despite this requirement forming part of the evaluation criteria, no evidence was collected to confirm that any of the four obscure companies met this very clear stipulation”.

Based on these, IMANI has vowed to refer the matter to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) since it yielded no results when it was sent to court.

“Given the challenges with the court system we outlined at the beginning of this report, going to CHRAJ is the most cost-effective route in these circumstances”, the statement read.

IMANI views the value-for-money issues it raised against the contract as unresolved.

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