INFORMATION reaching your authoritative 'Ghana Palaver' from the office of the Chief of Staff indicate that Chief John Addo Kufuor, the eldest son of President John Agyekum Kufuor, who is at the centre of the 'Hotel Kufuor' storm, is involved in another storm - a deal that threatens to be even stormier than the 'Hotel Kufuor' Affair.
The deal involves the National Identification Card Project, and the Company with which Chief Kufuor is allegedly involved is Sagem, the French Company that botched up a similar project in Nigeria after it had won the contract there through dubious means, and as at today, four (4) years later, the Nigerian system is still non-functional.
'The Ghana Palaver' is informed that a similar debacle befell the Ivoiriens with the same Sagem Company. Our source said, out of the nine (9) companies that bid for the National Identification Card System contract, only two of them had complete solutions, and Sagem was not one of them.
Indeed, the source further said, but for some coordinated effort between the Chief of Staff, Chief Addo Kufuor, Sambus and, as it is rumoured, former Finance Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Sagem would not have made it through the first round. Our source, added that it was always the Government's intention to give the contract to Sagem, but the Chief of Staff's' office deliberately prolonged the process for three years so that once the pressure begins to mount, they would step forward with Sagem and say that it was the 'best fit' for Ghana.
According to our sources, Sagem has actually received the letter of award for the Ghana ID Project and is currently in negotiations with the office of the Chief of Staff. Negotiations was expected to have been concluded last Friday, September 30, 2005, but this did not happen due to some unexpected complications, not excluding a deliberately floated rumour that 'The Ghana Palaver' was coming out with the story last week Tuesday.
The story as we have it is this. The Sagem bid was incomplete. It was short on the solution itself, and there was no adequate disaster recovery system. Their Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is sized to compare against one (1) million samples, and not the required twenty-five (25) million.
Their cards were not as per the specifications, and there is no network infrastructure. Furthermore, 'The Ghana Palaver' is told that Sagem is only interested in supplying the AFIS and leave it to local partners to deliver the rest. There is no centralised population register in their solution, and they rely on the database on the AFIS as a citizen count.
This puts the customer in a situation whereby should the need arise for a Driver Licence solution, the Government of Ghana would have to invest millions more in a solution that has to be supplied by Sagem because they are using a proprietary system. The same will be the case for Passports, Births and Death Certification, Firearm Licences, etc.
'The Ghana Palaver' has also learnt that Ghana commissioned an independent consulting firm, CIVIPOL, a French Company, and they gave a cost estimation of a minimum of US$64 million and that is using cheap cards, so they are wondering how Sagem can do it for the US$38 million that it appears they have been awarded the contract for.