IMANI Ghana, NCA lock horns over interconnect clearing house

Franklin Cudjoe – IMANI

Policy think tank IMANI Ghana has called into question the integrity of the bidding process which led to the granting of a monopoly interconnect clearing house license to Afriwave Ghana Ltd by the National Communications Authority (NCA).

The think tank issued an alert claiming that the tender process was rigged by the evaluation panel which manipulated the scoring scheme in favour of Afriwave, to win the bid ahead of Subah Infosolutions, Prodigy International Limited, TCMS-GVG Consortium Limited and Channel IT Ghana Limited, claims which the NCA has denied in a counter statement.

Using an extract of the evaluation panel’s report to back its claims, IMANI claimed that during the evaluation of technical capability, Afriwave was given more marks than the maximum attainable scores in the constituent areas assessed and should the strangely-awarded marks be removed the tender would have been rightly won by Subah Infosolutions.

IMANI also said the report of the eight-member application evaluation panel was submitted on January 29, 2015, and endorsed in “indecent haste” by the chairman of the NCA the very next day, without review.

It said evaluation of the technical and financial capability of the five companies was done in just 21 days without pre-qualification, testimonials of previous work done by the applicants or visits to their premises to assess their capability.

The evaluation panel it says, was also made to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

With the circumstances surrounding the issue, IMANI has demanded a re-opening of the tender, and the avoidance of monopoly for the clearing house and compulsion for telecoms companies.

In response, the NCA has issued a statement signed by its Acting Director, General William Tevie, saying regulations were adhered to in every aspect of the process and the regulator wonders where IMANI got its information from.

The NCA gave this explanation for the strangely-awarded marks to Afriwave in the tender process: “IMANI based their arguments on a draft report. The NCA in the preparation of the report, transposed the scores from Excel to Microsoft Word and noticed that there were some transpositional errors which were corrected to correspond with the original Excel scores.”

On the competence of Afriwave, the NCA said applicants for licenses are not always required to be operational and Afriwave had letters of commitment and agreements with Huawei Technologies, Meucci Solutions and Laurasia Associates.

“In the past, the NCA, has awarded licences to new entrants who have gone on to operate and have delivered services as per the licenses they were awarded.”

“IMANI also stated that there were no client references or testimonials of previous works done in the clearing and general telecom intermediation space. We respond by saying that all applicants again were required to demonstrate this, either by themselves or by their partners and Afriwave partnered with Huawei Technologies, Meucci Solutions and Laurasia Associates. This partnership was evident by letters of commitment and agreements,” the NCA said.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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