Vodafone denies Ghana corruption claims

Vodafone Ghana Telecom

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 Source: Jon Rees, Financial Mail

Vodafone has pledged to fight any allegations of irregularities surrounding its £450m purchase of a majority stake in Ghana Telecom, when a report into the deal is published this week.

The British mobile phones giant said it had been co-operating with an inquiry commissioned by the Ghanaian government into the deal with Ghana Telecom that took place in July last year. The Ghana Serious Fraud Office could become involved after the report's publication on Wednesday, say sources, who suggest that the company would welcome an investigation to allow the terms surrounding the acquisition to be thoroughly investigated.

Leaked documents purporting to be extracts of the report have been published in the Ghanaian press.

These allege that Vodafone underpaid for the stake, that the government in Accra received a fraction of the agreed sale price and even that there was a clause in the deal that forbade the government from bringing corruption proceedings against 'any member of the enlarged GT group'.

The Ghanaian High Commission refused to comment before the report's publication.

Vodafone said it had co-operated with the report. 'We have seen excerpts,' it said.

'There are things in there that we are amazed at and we look forward to publication so we can provide rebuttals.'

The deal saw Vodafone take a 70% stake in the stateowned GT, with the Accra government retaining 30%.

One of the architects of the deal was former Ghanaian president John Agyekum Kufuor who stood down five months after completion.

The new government under John Atta Mills, which came into office in January, ordered a review of the deal.

Vodafone's former chief executive Arun Sarin had described Ghana as 'one of the most attractive markets in Africa with mobile subscribers growing at more than 55% per annum'.

However, the company was forced to write down the value of its stake in GT a few months after the deal to £250m as economic conditions worsened.

Source: Jon Rees, Financial Mail
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