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Opinions Sun, 15 Feb 2009

Re: We'll not revoke GT sale - Haruna

In the Business News of Tuesday, 10 February 2009, an article with this title appeared on Ghanaweb. The article said that “Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister-nominee for Communications, who at postgraduate degree level could not tell what plagiarism is, on Tuesday told the Parliamentary Appointments Committee that government would not revoke the sale of Ghana Telecommunication (GT) to Vodafone BV but would consider a review of the sale.” However, Haruna Iddrisu, who is speaking no more as a Former Minority Spokesperson on Communications, but a member of the NDC Parliamentary Majority and Minister of Communications in the Mills Administration if approved, in spite of his plagiarism, also categorically said: “Government had the right to review any Parliamentary decision if it felt the need to do so to the extent that not all of Parliament's decisions had stood the test of time.

The purpose of this piece is to point out that Haruna Iddrisu’s reported facts to our representatives did not constitute an explanation of why our Sovereign right delegated to our elected Government to undertake a review of the Parliamentary decision to sell GT will not extend to a revocation of the GT sale; and why the National Democratic Congress who are now the Parliamentary Majority intends to simply review the GT/Vodafone Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA) and will not consider revoking it.

As a Ghanaian economist, I want to know if the Social Democratic Government of President Mills and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a political party intend to give us very sound and satisfactory several or joint non-plagiarised explanations which will include the part played in their thinking by the ongoing globally discredited Free Market Ideology of the World Bank-IMF to subject the political policy of The Republic of Ghana to those of foreign interests such as Vodafone Group PLC.

Haruna Iddrisu’s Background on Post-graduate Plagiarism:

“Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who is 38, obtained his Master of Philosophy (MPHIL) Degree from the University of Ghana in 2001; but the University of Ghana’s Board withdrew his Masters Degree in 2006 based on University of Ghana’s Technical Committee report that proved that he plagiarised the work of Justice P.A. Ennin. He knew since 2001 he had plagiarised but failed to seek redress either by petitioning the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana or in the law courts during some or all of which time he served as the Former Minority Spokesperson on Communications. Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG brought the matter to the Parliamentary Vetting Committee against his nomination as Minister-nominee for Communications in the Government of President Mills during which as Minister he intends to either petition the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana or the law courts over his plagiarism. He told them he was not the only one and that he personally knew other Members of Parliament whose theses are under similar scrutiny of plagiarism.

What Haruna Iddrisu reportedly said to Parliamentary Appointments Committee At his Parliamentary Vetting Committee meeting he said that government would consider a review of the sale of Ghana Telecommunication (GT) to Vodafone BV because the idea of reviewing the SPA was not his personal opinion but that of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a party; that reviewing the SPA "if it will be done, it will be done in good faith without any prejudices whatsoever". He noted that, one reason for a review of the SPA may be considered is the fact that it placed obligations on the Government as the minority shareholder to provide a working capital for the company. Another reason for a review of the SPA is the fact that it placed obligations on the Government as the minority shareholder to make an investment of US$30 million into the National Fibre Optics Backbone.

Currently, Vodafone had full control over the fibre optics backbone and was playing both wholesaler and retailer arrangement not necessarily fair to other players.

"There is the need to protect the smaller Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for instance to make them more vibrant and also to ensure that they provided affordable and reliable service to consumers,"

It was in a well-functioning internet service that ICT could be beneficial to the public and not just in computerization of operations as was erroneously and widely held.

He would pursue a vigorous ICT education programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The focus would make telecom, broadband internet and other real ICT features relevant to Ghanaians from a very youthful age.

“I can assure you that review is not the same as revocation”; “Government would not revoke the sale of Ghana Telecommunication (GT) to Vodafone BV”. He also said the intentions of the Government to consider a review of the GT/Vodafone Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA) did not constitute a revocation of the sale as some members of the public had concluded.” He is reported to have said that “We are not here to revoke the sale of GT."

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