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KELNIGVG SUITS WERE SPONSORED, SAYS URSULA

General News

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, has revealed that several of the lawsuits filed against the Common Monitoring Platform application were sponsored.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, has revealed that several of the lawsuits filed against the Common Monitoring Platform application were sponsored.

 

At the launch of the Kelni-GVG Revenue Assurance and Monitoring Platform in Accra on Monday, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said there were various misconceptions of the programme, particularly on the part of civil society organisations, which had led to lawsuits, some of which were sponsored. “There was never an intention to infringe on the privacy of citizens’ communications through the common platform,” she said, and expressed satisfaction at the high court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuits, which were described as “fanciful fears”.

Injunction thrown out

“The injunction application was thrown out, thankfully, by the high court, which indicated that they were born out of fanciful fears,” the Minister said.

“They have finally heeded the wisdom of sound counsel and discontinued all other lawsuits against the platform without liberty to apply.”

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful seized the opportunity to encourage all mobile network operators to co-operate with the National Communications Authority and Kelni-GVG Ltd by providing the information required to monitor their operations, including details of mobile money transactions.

She further said: “We welcome all comments and suggestions that will improve implementation of the Common Platform but hope they will be based on proven facts and not the figment of over-reactive imaginations and more fanciful fears.

“Our only motivation is to provide an objective means of verifying the information provided by the telecom companies for tax revenue purposes, in accordance with the law.

“For the first time in history, this platform is actually connected with the billing loads of all telecom operators as we speak,” the Minister said.

“Ghana Beyond Aid will become a reality if we all pay our dues and properly assess and pay taxes to finalise our own development.”

Background

The Ministry of Communications contracted Kelni-GVG Ltd to implement the Common Platform project to provide a more accurate method of electronically monitoring the volume of communications traffic in real time.

The $178 million contract with Kelni-GVG will also serve as a basis for both the National Communications Authority and Ghana Revenue Authority to calculate taxes and government revenue, which were not reckoned accurately by the previous system.

The implementation of this project is in line with the Communications Service Tax Amendment Act 2013 (Act 864).

However, there has been much criticism of the project, especially by the think tank IMANI Africa, which raised concerns about privacy and questioned the company’s credibility.

IMANI Africa recently withdrew a lawsuit it filed against the project, saying it lacked the funds to continue.

In a statement released on Monday 22 October, IMANI however said that it “remains resolute in its pursuit of the public interest”, adding that despite limited resources for public-interest work, it will continue to mobilise opinion and look for alternative avenues of redress that are compatible with its limited funding because IMANI never backs down on its principles.