Kelni GVG Court Suits Withdrawn
All may be set for President Nana Akufo-Addo to launch the controversial $89 million Kelni-GVG contract by the National Communications Authority (NCA) today following the withdrawal of all the three suits challenging its implementation.
The contract became a subject of controversy among policy think-tank IMANI Africa, two other applicants, and the Ministry of Communications. IMANI had argued that the contract was needless and expensive.
The ministry however argues that it is meant for the design and implementation of a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance and mobile money monitoring.
But the applicants believe that the intended implementation of the common platform constitutes a real threat to the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights to privacy, adding that the implementation of the common platform and its attendant breach of the applicant's right to privacy will be irreparable.
They also challenged the financial propriety of the contract which they claimed was too expensive and a drain on the national purse.
The applicants are IMANI Africa and Citizen Ghana Movement; Sara Asafu Adjaye and Maximus Amertogoh; Selorm Branttie, Nana Ama Adom-Boakye Kanyi and John Ato Bonful.
But all three applications before an Accra High Court (Human Rights Division) have been “wholly” discontinued at the court.
It is not clear what occasioned the discontinuation of all three applications but the notices of discontinuation of the case sighted by DAILY GUIDE noted that applicants wish to “wholly discontinue their claims against the defendants in this suit without liberty to re-apply”.
It would be recalled that an interlocutory injunction against the implementation of the contract was dismissed by the court presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah on July 10, 2018, for lacking merit.
The applicants, Sara Asafu-Adjaye and Maximus Ametorgoh, contended that the implementation of the platform when allowed to go through would infringe on their privacy.
According to the applicants, the mobile networks have a statutory duty to protect their customers, including the plaintiffs under Section 73 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775) by ensuring that correspondence and communications of customers are not intercepted or interfered with.
After evaluating the arguments of both lawyers for the applicants and the defendants, Justice Anthony Yeboah dismissed the application, saying “it has no merit and granting it will occasion loss of revenue to the state”.
The court held that the applicants were “peddling 'evidenceless' fears” as the Telcos did not file any paper before the court to challenge the assertion that indeed the essence of the platform is for purposes of revenue assurance.
Justice Yeboah also held that the claims by the applicants that they were acting upon public concern cannot also be founded since the Telcos who are in a position to counter government assertion are silent.
He added that the silence of the Telcos leaves the court in no doubt that the fears of the applicants have no legal basis.
Meanwhile, Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI Africa, has claimed the think-thank has reached a settlement with lawyers of Kelni-GVG on the issue of privacy.
Speaking on Joy FM's SMS, he said a committee had been set up to manage the privacy aspect of the contract in order to ensure the interests of customers are protected.
“Two things have happened in the ensuing tango. First of all, there was a Subah injunction against the common platform. We heard that the issue has been settled and Subah has decided to press the issue in court no longer.
“I must actually report to the entire public…the lawyers for Kelni had approached our lawyers a month ago and the whole issue was that this whole fight was needless and that what was the main issues for which this battle was ongoing and that they wanted to see how best these matters will be settled.
“When our lawyers came to us we told them there are two issues – the issue of privacy and the issue of money. If they agree to talk on those terms and have a workable plan which can be satisfactory to Ghanaians, then we should go ahead and talk.
“I must report that the first major conversation about this matter has been held and some settlement of a sort has been reached on the issue of privacy,” President of IMANI Africa said on the show.
He denied that 'money had exchanged hands' in the settlements leading to the discontinuation of the case.