Thursday, November 5, 2009
The sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone received several public oppositions and criticisms in view of the perceived massive improprieties that coupled the deal. It has been recently established by an Inter-Ministerial Committee report that most of the terms of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) were inimical to Ghana’s interest with the committee recommending that Ghana Government should consider a renegotiation of the SPA.
It is unmistakable that Vodafone has so far dismissed about 2,000 employees in line with its downsizing policy per the SPA despite the intervention of the National Labour Union. An official of Vodafone in an attempt to justify the redundancy exercise cited one of its competitors Tigo as having staff strength of about 500 compared to that of Vodafone which is in excess of 3,000.
Some few months ago, Vodafone recruited and employed about 120 workers and again between 31st October and 1st November 2009 through a job fair Vodafone has screened about 6,000 applications in an ongoing recruitment exercise.
BGF is reliably informed about this orchestrated ploy to gain undue favour in the eyes of government in spite of the NDC’s campaign promise to get the SPA reviewed. We are by this release putting it to the management of Vodafone that BGF is massively consulting with legal brains and will very soon put in the public domain all secret ploys by Vodafone to get away with the SPA review. We are also calling on the government to be resolute and act with dispatch in exploring all legal avenues available in lieu of getting the SPA reviewed before this scam gets to the next level.
BGF is also disappointed with the recent 5% increase in fuel prices and call on the government to absorb the increase in order to reduce the tension it has generated within the public domain and also the potential stress to industry and manufacturing vis-à-vis living conditions. We welcome the government’s decision to cut down government fuel consumption by 30%, the 5% reduction on the taxes of fuel and the recent importation of crude oil for processing but we still believe that 5% increase in fuel prices now is not in the best interest of Ghanaians.
Instead we are advising the government to descend heavily and retrospectively on all Oil Marketing Companies who are indebted to Tema Oil Refinery in line with the government’s domestic resource mobilization policy.
BETTER GHANA FORUM
(Coordinator/Media Liaison Officer)
A review of Vodafone's purchase of Telecom Ghana has concluded that the sale was not beneficial to the Ghanaian state. The sale was opposed by the opposition politicians, who now form the current government, and they ordered an enquiry into the sale by the previous government.
The review, carried out by an Inter-Ministerial Review Committee has recommended that the government find a way of renegotiating the sale, which was completed in August 2008.
Although the sale of 70% of the company was was for a headline figure of US$900 million on a debt-free, cash-free basis, the review claimed that just US$267.6 million from the sale due to "complicated financial arrangements", and that the sale might be illegal in Ghana due as it was managed through a Dutch holding company.
The Committee noted that Telekom SA had offered US$947 million for the lower stake of 66.67%.Complicating the investigation, the former Minister of State for Finance Dr. Akoto Osei and the immediate past Chief Executive of Ghana Telecom, Dickson Oduro Nyaning refused to assist the Committee with information. In addition, it criticized the former President, John Kufuor, for interfering in the transaction, describing his action as "highly irregular, unconventional and did not rely on expert advice".
Although the Committee heard testimony that various politicians had been bribed to vote in favour of the sale, it felt that it lacked the resources to investigate the criminal allegations. The review also criticized a clause in the transaction that prevented the government from bringing corruption charges against any member of the enlarged Telecom Ghana company.
The Committee said, that despite several requests, Vodafone could not provide information to enable the Committee confirm the expected US$200 million capital injected into Ghana Telecom after the sale.
While Vodafone claimed that, between August 2008 and May 2009, it paid Huawei GH¢61 million (US$42 million) from the bridge facility, documents submitted by Huawei indicated that they had invoiced and received only GH¢37.29 million and not GH¢61million. The Committee considered it a breach of the warranty provisions in the SPA. The Committee was of the view that Government may want to confront Vodafone and ask them to account for the difference of GH¢23.71 million.
The government is to make a decision on how to proceed within a couple of weeks. Vodafone said that it couldn't comment until it received a copy of the report.
The company was rebranded as Vodafone Ghana earlier this year.
President of Ghajict