|Audio Attachment:Listen to excerpts of the Press conference addressed by the Minority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, stating their position on the sale of Ghana Telecom (GT) to Vodafone.|
The Minority in Parliament on Thursday stated its position on the sale of Ghana Telecom (GT) to Vodafone and said the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) covering the transaction "is entirely within the laws of Ghana."
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Minority Leader, said at a press conference that the Minority was giving its official position on the sale of 70 per cent of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone following government's official comment on the report of the ministerial committee set up to, among others, examine issues relating to the sale of GT to Vodafone in 2008.
"The committee has stated that they found that some of the terms of the SPA between the government of Ghana and Vodafone are inimical to Ghana's interest," the Minority said when recounting some claims of the ministerial committee.
"The ministerial committee also concludes that the SPA went against the laws of Ghana including the 1992 constitution, the National Communications Authority (NCA) Act and Regulations, and the Internal Revenue Act 592."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the ministerial committee's assertion could not be farther from the truth. We hold that the SPA is entirely within the laws of Ghana."
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the committee cited the "allocation of the 3G license in the SPA, and posits that under LI 1719, allocation of such license should be granted by public tender. We disagree with the committee."
"We strongly contend that the NCA Act grants NCA the right to determine its procedure according to its policy. It is worth noting that it is the same procedure that was used to grant 3G licenses to all other operators, so why should anybody now raise issue?"
He said the committee concluded that the indemnity clause "is not balanced as it seeks to protect the interest of the buyer and not the mutual interest of both parties...We disagree with this conclusion of the committee. There are also indemnity/warranty provisions in favour of the government of Ghana in the SPA".
The Minority Leader disagreed with the contention raised by the committee that Vodafone PLC and Vodafone International BV were not the same hence, Parliament was "misled, and therefore the ratification by Parliament is unconstitutional."
"We are satisfied that Vodafone BV is a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Vodafone PLC..Indeed government of Ghana may sign agreements through any of its ministries, departments and agencies....This is common legal practice in international business."
He told the press that the Minority disagreed with the committee that the sale price of 900 million dollars for 70 per cent of GT was low and also that the fibre optic backbone was grossly under valued.
"The committee concludes that government of Ghana realized only 266.57 million dollars from Vodafone. Ladies and Gentlemen, this cannot be true. Indeed 900 million dollars was transferred by Vodafone. A simple check at the Bank of Ghana would confirm this!"
The Minority Leader touched on claims by the committee of Executive interference with ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor being the one who agreed on the transaction price and this was irregular.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we find this conclusion very strange, preposterous, and absurd..it is important to state categorically that President Kufuor did not solely decide on the price, on his own technical and legal assumptions."
He touched on the matter of decoupling the Telecom University from the rest of Vodafone GT operations and said the SPA had already taken care of this because it was never part of the valuation of GT from the very beginning.
"We note a news item that the British Serious Fraud Office may be interested in investigating the Vodafone GT transaction. We welcome it wholeheartedly," the Minority Leader added.
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