OCCUPYGHANA PRESS STATEMENT ON INTERCONNECT CLEARING HOUSE AND OTHER ISSUES

OCCUPYGHANA PRESS STATEMENT ON INTERCONNECT CLEARING HOUSE AND OTHER ISSUES

May we respectfully begin statement by cataloguing a few antecedents.
At OccupyGhana, we prefer dialogue and understanding for occupying hearts and minds but if leadership continue to be irresponsible we will use other legitimate means avenues not limited to courts and call on Ghanaians to hit the streets.

However, our experience in seeking information has been one of mostly stonewalling to absolute disrespect and ignoring of our letters
In February 2015, OccupyGhana formally asked the National Communications Authority questions regarding the Interconnect Clearing House. The letter was delivered but after a year, in 2016, we have not received a reply.
We followed up with a reminder dated March 9, 2015 on the same subject and same questions “Re: OccupyGhana Wants to Know-Interconnect Clearing House Issues.” This gentle reminder almost a year on has not been acknowledged.
A week ago, OccupyGhana was minded again to request answers to its earlier set of questions, primarily because an IMANI led expose had “alleged” serious and damaging incidents of fraud in the evaluation process leading to the award of the ICH license last year.
While we will not be far from right from speculating that recent controversies over the ICH license was the main reason the NCA and your Ministry were unable to reply our letters, we will still give you the benefit of the doubt until you have properly furnished us with every document, report or agreements that have been requested in the questions below.
Pursuant to Article 21(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, we hereby seek the information listed below in respect of the purported Interconnect Clearinghouse (“ICH”) policy and licence, and request that it be supplied in an expeditious manner.
1. Minutes and/or notes of all related meetings and discussions involving Ministry personnel, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Directors, and outside persons, prior to NCA making its policy recommendation to the Ministry including without limitation
a. Any presentations mad.
b. Name and title of participants, whether from within the Ministry or outside, including said persons’ personal experience in the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of carrier-grade voice and data networks.
c. All related correspondence prior to or following said meetings and discussions
d. Any input received or discussion with any person who was not at that time already a proponent of the interconnect clearinghouse.
2. Details of all public or stakeholder consultations carried out prior to the purported adoption of the ICH policy, including without limitation.
a. Any presentations made by the Ministry or other participants.
b. Name and title of participants on behalf of the Ministry, whether from within the Ministry or outside, including said persons’ personal experience in the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of carrier-grade voice and data networks.
c. Notes of comments made by non-Ministry attendees, including the names of such attendees and responses from personnel acting on behalf of the Ministry, whether at said consultation or subsequent thereto.
d. Any information exchanged at said consultation(s) regarding the mandatory passing of interconnect traffic through the ICH.
e. Any information exchanged at said consultation(s) regarding the private or public funding of construction and operation of the anticipated ICH, including capital and operating cost estimates and source of funds
3. Minutes and/or notes of all related meetings and discussions involving Ministry personnel, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Directors, and outside persons, whether initiated by the Ministry or any other person, in which ICH policy recommendations from NCA were presented or discussed (per NCA mandate) or in which the purported policy was drafted and finalized including without limitation.
a. Any presentations made.
b. Name and title of participants, whether from within the Ministry or outside, including said persons’ personal experience in the design, construction,
commissioning, operation, and maintenance of carrier-grade voice and data networks.
c. Discussion on and/or analysis of the impact of requiring all interconnect traffic to pass through the ICH.
d. Discussion on and/or analysis of regarding the private or public funding of construction and operation of the anticipated ICH, including capital and operating cost estimates and source of funds.
e. All related correspondence prior to or following said meetings and discussions.
4. All documentation and notes related to any formal or informal meeting in which the adoption and approval of the purported policy was discussed.
5. Minutes and/or notes of all related meetings and discussions involving Ministry personnel, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Directors, and outside persons, whether initiated by the Ministry or any other person, in which ICH policy recommendations were submitted to the Office of the President for Cabinet approval, including without limitation.
a. Any presentations made.
b. Name and title of participants, whether from within the Ministry or outside, including said persons’ personal experience in the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of carrier-grade voice and data networks.
c. Whether the views of persons or organizations who were not proponents of the ICH were put forth to the Cabinet.
d. Discussion on and/or analysis of the impact of requiring all interconnect traffic to pass through the ICH.
e. Discussion on and/or analysis of regarding the private or public funding of construction and operation of the anticipated ICH, including capital and operating cost estimates and source of funds.
f. All related correspondence prior to or following said meetings and discussions.
6. Details of all public or stakeholder consultations carried out subsequent to the purported adoption of the ICH policy, including without limitation.
a. Any presentations made by the Ministry or other participants.
b. Name and title of participants on behalf of the Ministry, whether from within the Ministry or outside, including said persons’ personal experience in the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of carrier-grade voice and data networks.
c. Notes of comments made by non-Ministry attendees, including the names of such attendees and responses from personnel acting on behalf of the Ministry, whether at said consultation or subsequent thereto.
d. Any information exchanged at said consultation(s) regarding the mandatory passing of interconnect traffic through the ICH.
e. Any information exchanged at said consultation(s) regarding the private or public funding of construction and operation of the anticipated ICH, including capital and operating cost estimates and source of funds.
7. All documentation and notes related to any formal or informal meeting or discussion at any time between Ministry personnel, including without limitation the Minister and Deputy Ministers, Directors, and Consultants or Advisors, and the entity selected by NCA to receive the ICH license.
8. All documentation showing the approvals required by law for the disbursement of public funds toward construction and/or operation of the ICH.
From the above, OccupyGhana in summary is
A – Requesting further and better detailed responses to the questions within a week
B – Suggesting that for the sake of good governance process and order, the Presidency sets up of an Independent body to investigate the Licence issuance process, against the background of the Imani “allegations” and the back and forth with the NCA in order to verify or rubbish these “allegations”.
Other Issues
With respect to the GYEEDA matter, OccupyGhana is honestly not impressed by the rate of collection by government of monies paid to companies by GYEEDA, so we started chasing the matter after reading portions of the Auditor-General’s 2013 Report on MDAs. One the 1st of June, 2015, our first letter went to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who decided not give us any response even after 2 reminders.
On the 24th of July, 2015, we wrote letters to request information on payment schedules and parliamentary approvals on the various interest free loans to the companies, to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Former GYEEDA Board, Youth Entrepreneurial Agency and copied the Attorney General, Auditor-General, Chief of Staff and Parliament.
We received a letter from Centre for Development Partners, one of the beneficiary companies, claiming they never received any loan of ₵300,000 from GYEEDA and we notified the ministry subsequently.
After receiving and unsatisfactory response, we wrote directly to the Attorney General on 11th August, 2015, requesting same information but our letter was also ignored.
OccupyGhana has decided to use a more forceful approach in seeking information and we began yesterday by hitting the courts with information on the Smartty’s bus branding issue and more will be following in due course.
OccupyGhana®
For further information, please contact Ing. Nana Sarpong Agyeman-Badu, OccupyGhana® Media Relations by replying to this email, or on +233 264771508 or info.occupyghana@gmail.com.