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16.10.2009 Business & Finance

Committee recommends renegotiation of SPA with Vodafone

Committee recommends renegotiation of SPA with Vodafone
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Accra, Oct. 16, GNA - The Justice Emmanuel Akwei Addo Committee, which was charged to investigate the sale of 70 per cent shares of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone Vodafone in 2008, has recommended to Government to consider the option of renegotiating the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Vodafone.

Government should, particularly, reconsider Parties to the SPA; compliance or otherwise of the SPA with the laws of Ghana, particularly the NCA Regulations and the Internal Revenue Act 592; value for money/ Transaction consideration; retention of the National Fibre Optic by the Government of Ghana as a strategic national asset; decoupling of the Ghana Telecom University from the transaction (already done); return of GT investments to the Government of Ghana such as the Telecom Emporium.

This was contained in a statement on Friday signed by Dr Valerie Sawyerr, Deputy Chief of Staff, releasing the report to the media on Friday.

The committee recommended that the National Communications Backbone Company (NCBC) must be decoupled from the Enlarged GT Group and a public entity established with a nationalistic mandate and given the resources to complete and expand the backbone to all socially and economically necessary locations to enable it to act as the foundation for Government's ICT Policy.

It said a forensic audit must be conducted into the affairs of GT to cover the Telenor/Telecom Management Partners (TMP) and that the Interim Management Committee (IMC) and management at the time be made to answer for their stewardship.

The Committee said GT-Vodafone must be requested to provide detailed reporting requirements based on forensic accounting and reporting principles. This should follow the establishment of actual sourcing and use of funds purportedly introduced by the current management as working capital.

The committee said it found that the SPA was negotiated in an inelegant manner by Government, "which gave everything and took nothing" in the context of the inequalities in bargaining power that were allowed to prevail. This should never be allowed to happen again.

"Government must conduct a serious audit into the way and manner it negotiates such business deals. A working party of experts consisting of a corps of technical experts and negotiators should be in charge of such negotiations. "

It recommended that copies of all government agreements should be lodged with government archivists as required by law.

Copies of such agreements should be lodged with the Attorney-General as the second repository and copies retained by the respective MDAs who should superintend the execution and implementation of the respective public agreements to ensure that the best interests of Ghana are protected.

The statement said the government had taken note of the Committee's findings and recommendations, and would soon make public its position on the recommendations.

"We however wish to assure all Ghanaians that we remain committed to our promises and pledge to ensure that any transaction that purports to transfer any part of any asset belonging to Ghana, as in this case GT, to another entity must take full cognisance of and be consistent with the spirit and letter of the laws of Ghana, set guidelines and procedures. Ultimately, any such transaction must deliver to Ghanaians value for money," the statement said.


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