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The Ministry of Communications (MoC) has signed a $178m contract to an ‘unknown’ company beyond its name, KelniGVG. It signed on behalf of the Finance Ministry. The contract essentially is paying $1.5m every month to KelniGVG for the next 10 years to apparently to assure revenues and traffic monitoring on the nodes of telecommunications companies without any credible performance indicators.
The worse of it is that, should the Ministry of Communications decide to opt out of the contract at any time, Ghanaians will pay 50% of the unexpired term of the contract.
The Ministry of Communications has been dancing forever with the Public Procurement Act, and the Public Financial Management Act and the President has not been bothered.
But the the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, has been fired by the President for simply suggesting a review of a bad energy deal.
But let us look at the curious case of KelniGVG.
Remember, the Electoral Commissioners were removed from office for violating the same Public Procurement Act, and the Public Financial Management Act.
IMANI has asked, why do we spend $125 million through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to collect, monitor, and assure all the $7.5 billion we collect, and around $25 million to collect, monitor and assure all the $1.23 billion we collect in taxes from companies in Ghana, but want to burn nearly GH¢40 in every GH¢100 we collect in communications services tax as the KelniGVG contract demands? What is the logic?
According to IMANI, “The Kelni GVG contract is multi-year, so section 33 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2016 requires that it should be approved by (a) the Minister for Finance, and (b) Parliament. Even though payments have been made, the contract has not been approved by Parliament. The statement by the Minister for Communications on the floor of Parliament does not represent parliamentary approval.
“In the contract, the Ministry of Communication (MoC) and KelniGVG (KGVG) have agreed that the National Communications Authority (NCA) should pay for the KGVG’s services. This offends the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769) which makes the NCA a body corporate with its own governing board. The NCA cannot pay for services it has not contracted.
“Again the MoC and KGVG have agreed that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) pays for the services of KGVG. This also offends the GRA Act, 2009 (Act 791) which makes the GRA a body corporate with a governing board. The GRA cannot pay for services it has not contracted, which services are outside their budget as approved by Parliament in the 2018 Budget Statement.
“The Communications Services Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013 requires the Minister for Finance and Minister for Communications to set up the common monitoring platform that KGVG is providing. The payment for the services should be captured in the budgets for these two ministries and paid for by them.They did not. So, then as covered entities under the PFMA (Act 921), they should revise their budgets through due process before the two ministries can take on those expenditure.
“Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Communications, GRA, and NCA are all covered entities under the PFMA. No covered entity is permitted to incur cost and place it on another covered entity that has not budgeted for that expenditure. Please note that under section 96(2) of the PFMA (Act 921), it is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment or a fine, or both, for a spending officer to spend beyond their budget.
“We expect that the President and his team of crack lawyers will on the above grounds, let the contract be cancelled or any payment for the contract by NCA or GRA can be made unlawful. Shouldn’t we be upholding the rule of law at all times?” IMANI quizzed and called for an action to be taken.
Source: Sammy Adjei || Ghananewsonline.com.gh
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