Ghana: Gov't Takes More Flak Over GT Deal
A group calling itself Concerned Citizens against the sale of a 70% stake of Ghana Telecom (GT) to Vodafone, has condemned government's inability to give tangible reasons, on why it intends selling a majority of the nation's asset to the latter.
According to the group, Vodafone, which is a wholly British entity, sought to ride on the shoulders of Ghanaians, without giving due diligence to the laws of the land, thereby entering into a dubious agreement with the country, to forfeit its assets to them (Vodafone).
This was made known, when the group met a group of media practitioners in Accra on Wednesday, to announce why it intended using the law court to stop the government carrying out the sale.
The group argued that in addition to the sale of the majority (70%) shares of GT, the Ghana government, by virtue of the provisions in schedule 16 of the agreement, is handing over to Vodafone, the shares on a silver platter.
According to the group, the government of Ghana, as part of its agreement with Vodafone, has decided to hand over Voltacom (Volta Communications Company Limited), a communications company established by the Volta RiverAuthority (VRA), as a separate business entity, which provides communication services to other communications companies, for a fee.
In addition, the group said the government, as part of the agreement, would be handing over the VRA Fiber Network and its assets, which comprise all property, equipment and assets, relating to the VRA Fibre Network, including the VRA Fibre Units, and all other assets and equipment that are set out in the Assets Register of the VRA.
The VRA Fibre Units are the systems that contain the optical wires, which are housed within the optical ground wires.
Also inclusive in the agreement, according to the group, is the handing over of access to the VRA Electrical Transmission Network. This the group said, means the electrical transmission network, owned by VRA, and operated by the VRA, including all lands, buildings, towers, cables, equipments, and other assets used by VRA in the generation and supply of electricity and related services, would be handed over to Vodafone.
Furthermore, the group contended that the nation's FibreCo, a company established by the National Communications Authority (NCA), as a communications backbone for the country, coupled with Voltacom's Towers and Radio buildings in Takoradi, as part of the agreement, would be handed over to Vodafone.
This coupled with other reasons, according to the group, was uncalled for, hence the need to abrogate the proposed sale of GT to Vodafone.
The group averred that the handing over of the aforementioned assets to Vodafone, posed a threat to the nation's security, national sovereignty, and the authority of the courts and laws of this country.
"For the US$900 million to be paid for 70% shares in GT, therefore, all these five other companies, and their assets, are to be transferred, not sold, to Vodafone, and Vodafone is supposed to have access to the VRA Electrical Transmission Network. By the provisions of the agreement, VRA is required to maintain and insure the transmission network, to enable Vodafone provide services to its customers," noted Bright Akwetey, legal counsel to the group.
He added, "This does not make business sense, and we are opposed to it. There is no company registered in the Registrar General's Department called Enlarge GT, and we intend to challenge this in court."
Bright Akwetey noted that under the proposed agreement of the GT sale, Vodafone stands tall to benefit much more than the country, based on the terms and conditions of the agreement, that seeks to satisfy the purchaser in all spheres of the deal.
"This attitude of complete capitulation to the whims of Vodafone constitutes a complete surrender of our sovereignty to Vodafone, for just US$900 million. The only occasion in the whole agreement, that mutuality is permitted, is in relation to termination. Otherwise, the whole agreement appears to be under the thumb of the purchaser," noted Bright Akwetey.