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Ghana Card deal: I ACTED WITH UTMOST INTEGRITY - Ken Attafuah

Politics

The Acting Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority, Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, has denied allegations levelled against him by the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, in relation a contract connected with the National Identification System project.

The Acting Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority, Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, has denied allegations levelled against him by the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, in relation a contract connected with the National Identification System project.

 

Mr Agyapong alleged that Professor Attafuah’s supervision of the award of the project was corrupt.

The MP alleged that Prof Attafuah awarded the contract at a cost of $1.2 billion when he (Mr Agyapong) had proposed a contractor from India who would have cost $50 million.

Mr Agyapong further accused Prof Attafuah of accepting a gift of land from the chief executive of Margins Group ‒the parent company of Identity Management Systems, which won the contract ‒ before awarding him the job.

However, the NIA Acting Executive Secretary has strongly denied the accusations. In a statement issued by the Professor yesterday, he stressed that he had not taken a bribe from anyone, nor had he received a gift of land or cash, or any other object of valuable consideration, from anyone for any work he has done or will do in future.

“I have not stolen any money from anyone. I have, on the contrary, acted with utmost integrity and professionalism and served the best interests of Ghana with my best intellect and best industry in my capacity as Acting Executive Secretary of the NIA,” Professor Attafuah said.

The Professor explained that the government had accepted the key recommendations of a technical committee, established by Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, which he chaired. The committee was tasked with developing a roadmap for implementing the National Identification System project. It granted audience to 15 prospective solutions providers and the World Bank Group (acting in an advisory capacity), which shared knowledge and experience of international best practices with the committee members.

“One such entity was India-based Madras Security Printing, which was presented by Hon. Kennedy Agyapong. As with all entities, the committee made it clear that it was neither receiving bids nor evaluating proposals or awarding contracts; it was merely an advisory body trying to understand what options for solution might be available to the government for reviving Ghana’s NIS,” Professor Attafuah said.

In reaching a collective decision, each member openly pronounced on which of the three possible options for solution he or she favoured.

“All but two members selected the NIA-IMS solution. One of the two wrote a dissenting opinion to the Presidency, and the same was thoroughly examined by the Presidency but rejected. Government approved of the majority. I had no capacity to, and did not, influence the decisions of either the committee or Government on this highly technical matter,” he said.

Professor Attafuah recalled that at the end of its work, the committee concluded that there already existed a turnkey solution which supports instant issuing of multipurpose smart cards that meet the technical requirements.

After comprehensive regulatory and approval processes spanning over seven months, the NIA entered into a public-private partnership contract with IMS on April 16, 2018 for the implementation of the NIS, he said.

The processes involved review and approval by the Attorney-General’s Department, review by the Legal Unit of the Ministry of Finance, critical assessment and approval by the Public Investments Division of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), review and approval by the Public Private Partnership Approval Committee of the MoF, review and approval by the Government’s Economic Management Team; review and approval by Cabinet; and review and approval of appropriate waivers on import duty by Parliament.

With regard to the price of the NIS project, Professor Attafuah said that Mr Agyapong had presented varying costings for the job.

“In 2017, he claimed that it would cost $150m and in 2018 he puts the figure at $50m. Mr. Agyapong is obviously not in the industry for the manufacture and issuance of biometric ID cards and the management of the NIS, and may not be familiar with the cost implications. The ID card Mr. Agyapong contemplates must be radically different from the Ghana Card, which forms an important component of the NIS, the totality of which the NIA and IMS partnership is managing for Ghana.”

Prof Attafuah further said that the national ID cards nearest in type to the Ghana Card, in their physical characteristics and technical functionality, are those adopted by Rwanda and Nigeria.

“The Rwandan biometric ID card will be optionally available at a cost of $18.17, while the Ghana Card costs $5.40, and is issued free of charge to Ghanaian citizens in Ghana, in order to foster social and economic inclusion, among other goals. The Rwandan card is currently issued to citizens one month after registration, while the Ghanaian gets the card issued instantly, or within two days where there is delayed printing of cards for minors under 15 years old,” he said.

Professor Attafuah stated that the NIS project will be spread over the period of one year and that within the stipulated time frame, Ghana is committed to spending $124m. The private partner, IMS, will provide $169m.

“The total project cost for the delivery of the Ghana Card is therefore $293m and not US$1.2bn. This total is expected to cover the technical and operational cost that will deliver ID cards to all Ghanaians over the one-year period and establish the National Identity Register and the entire NIS,” the Professor said.

The allegations by the Honourable Member of Parliament for Assin Central can only be the product of ignorance, confusion and/or needless malice, he said.