The Ghana government has said it will “re-engage” with the management of Vodafone International, following the controversial purchase of 70 per cent of the state-owned Ghana Telecom in 2008, and ensure that there is compliance with the country’s laws.
A government statement issued here Tuesday night said the process of re-engagement was without prejudice to any legal suits pending before the courts of Ghana.
It said the re-engagement would also include issues relating to the operation of the National Fibre Optic Backbone, which is considered a strategic national asset by many Ghanaians.
The National Communications Backbone Company (NCBC), which is managing the Fibre Optic Backbone, will enable Government promote its key ICT policies and must be an open-access network that serves the whole country with competitively-priced services that will enable the rapid development of e-Government, BPO and other ICT Industries and Services.
“By this action, Government is looking forward to the realisation of the true value of the fibre optic backbone and a consideration of its policy objectives in order to arrive at an outcome that benefits the people of Ghana,” the statement said.
Vodafone bought Ghana Telecom for US$900 million for 70% of the shares in 2008 in a deal that was widely criticised by the public, especially the present government which was then in opposition, and which vowed to review the deal when voted to power.
The government has since set up a committee to investigate the agreement.
The statement said as recommended by the Committee, Vodafone GT would be expected to provide detailed reporting requirements based on audited accounting and reporting principles for the attention of the re-engagement team.
Also to be considered is the possible return of some GT investments, including landed properties and the Telecom Emporium, to the Government of Ghana.
Government will also ensure a conclusion to the processes that have already started for the decoupling of the Ghana Telecom University from the rest of Vodafone GT’s operations.
“Government has also taken note of the Committee’s findings in relation to the appalling financial state of GT before the SPA, which the Committee attributed to gross mismanagement, financial malpractices and irregularities by Telenor/Telecom Management Partners (TMP) and later the three-member Interim Management Committee (IMC),” the statement said, adding that government would institute investigations and audit into the management of GT by the TMP and the IMC, led by Mr Dickson Oduro Nyaning.
“Accordingly, Government would set up a Joint Working Team to engage with Vodafone to ensure that the decisions outlined are implemented. Government wishes to acknowledge the public’s interest in the matter of GT’s sale and the insistence that the national interest must be protected at all times,” it said.