The controversy surrounding the sale of telecommunications
giant Ghana Telecom takes a dramatic twist Tuesday as parliament reconvenes to
debate and ratify the sale proposed by President John Kufuor's government. Some
Ghanaians are expressing strong opposition to the sale of Ghana Telecom, which
has reportedly led to a lawsuit seeking to prevent President Kufuor's
government from selling Ghana Telecom to the British-based company Vodafone.
Also Tuesday, the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), a political pressure group,
is organizing a demonstration in parliament against the sale of Ghana Telecom.
group is accusing the government of failing fully to disclose details of the
sale, adding that it has reasons to believe that relatives of top government
officials would benefit from the transaction. But President Kufuor's government
denies the accusations, saying it needs to raise funds to inject into an
economy that it claims is experiencing unexpected shocks because of rising fuel
and food prices.
Ghana's capital, CJA leading member Kwesi Pratt tells reporter Peter Clottey
that the government has not been transparent to Ghanaians.
are massing up this morning in front of parliament house and we are going to
make the point that the sale of 70% of Ghana Telecom shares to Vodafone is
inimical to the interest of the people of Ghana. And we would also be demanding
full disclosure of the transaction," Pratt pointed out.
said the group would go ahead and press home its demand for disclosure of the
deal, although it has limited options if President Kufuor's government decides
not to heed to its demands.
is very little that we can do about that. But if the government does that and
uses its majority to bulldoze its way, it would send a very clear signal to the
Ghanaian electorate. It would make a statement about itself that it is not
ready to consider the relevant issues and that it would stick to party partisan
position, which would be most unfortunate. And it is important for the
government to realize that this is an election year and the people of Ghana are
listening and watching," he said.
said there is need for transparency and a thorough investigation into practices
of all there hasn't been a full disclosure, and there is some evidence that
Vodafone practices in such matters have not been wholesome. Vodafone bought 30%
shares of Safaricom in Kenya, and the Kenyan Public Investment Committee of
parliament investigated the deal and what it came up with was sordid. As we
speak, Vodafone is before a court in India answering charges of tax evasion and
so on. So, it is important for us to find out if Vodafone practices in Ghana
would be different from practices in other countries like Kenya, like India and
elsewhere," Pratt noted.
described as inopportune the secrecy coursing the sale of Ghana Telecom.
the government has not been telling us the whole truth about the transaction. A
couple of days after this matter became public and we raised concerns about it
and even without parliamentary approval, personnel of Vodafone went to Ghana
Telecom and had a meeting with the workers, which suggested that they had
already taken over. When we raised those issues, the government reaction was
that Vodafone staff were carrying out due diligence. But our position is that
if they were now telling us due diligence, then how did they come to the conclusion
that the company's 70% shares are worth $900 million? Because it was due
diligence, which ought to have established the price of the company. So it is
clear that the government is not telling us the whole truth about this
transaction," he pointed out.