[Peace FM] The Government would soon set up a five-member committee to review some aspects of the agreement that led to the sale of majority of government shares in Ghana Telecom to Vodafone International. The Committee to be headed by a retired judge of the Superior Court of Judicature would include representatives from the Attorney General’s Department & Ministry of Justice, Communication experts and technocrats from the Ministry of Communications.
The Minister of Communications, Mr. Haruna Iddrissu announced this in London on Monday during a meeting with top officials of Vodafone International at their Newbury Headquarters in the United Kingdom, a statement from the Ghana High Commission in London said. Mr Iddrissu said whilst in opposition, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) expressed reservations about the agreement and pledged to review it when Ghanaians gave them the mandate to run the affairs of the country. The Committee was therefore being set up in fulfillment of the promise the party made to Ghanaians. Mr Iddrissu said areas the Committee will be expected to look at include; Justification for the indemnity clause which seems to give protection to management and judgement defaults.
On the principles of cash free and debt free, Government needs to know what accounted for the huge indebtedness and liability of Ghana Telecom and why these were not declared during the negotiations:It said Government needed to satisfy itself that nothing had been glossed over because a real calculation could not have accounted for the low price of $900 million as sales price offered for Ghana Telecom. The Committee would find out how much liability was incurred from the time of Telenor’s disagreement to the time of the transaction between Ghana Telecom and Vodafone International and because of national security implications, the National Fibre Optic backbone should not have been included in the transactions. “The Committee would therefore have to investigate why national security concerns were not considered and come out with appropriate recommendations to Government,” the statement said.
It said under the Sales and Purchases Agreement (SPA) there was the release of Ghana Telecom University College to Vodafone International to run and for an eventual return to the Government of Ghana at a cost of 8 million pounds is determined to run the University as an IT Institute of Excellence and would therefore want to take it back. “Government would also want to know how a loan of $228 million was made to Vodafone and how a further amount of $63 million accruable from the ESCROW Account was disbursed.”Mr Iddrissu said Government would want the Committee to address labour rationalisation issues, particularly how employees of Ghana Telecom were going to be affected by the SPA:
Responding on behalf of Vodafone International, Mr. Mathew Kirk, Director for International Relations, welcomed the decision to review the Agreement, but advised the Government to be circumspect in dealing with the issue lest it sent negative signals to the international business community.
Government To Set Up Committee On Vodafone