Policy Think Tank, IMANI Ghana, says it has in its possession a leaked document highlighting some “fraudulent” practices that facilitated the contract awarded to Afriwave Telecom Ghana, to provide a common platform for the routing, switching, billing and settlement of interconnect traffic for the telecommunication industry.
The document according to IMANI, has confirmed its allegations that some persons at the National Communications Authority (NCA), manipulated the process leading to the award of the contract to Afriwave.
IMANI’s latest revelation comes barely 24-hours after the NCA released a statement in which it explained the role it played in the award of the contract and described IMANI’s claims as misleading.
MANI has already questioned the contract awarded to Afriwave to provide a common platform for the routing, switching, billing and settlement of interconnect traffic for the telecommunication industry.
Their concerns followed similar claims raised by Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Kweku Kwarteng. In IMANI’s new press release, the Think Tank said it has now adopted a stronger stance because it is privy to ample documentary evidence of fraudulent manipulations of the tender results.
They outlined the factors that led to the supposed fraudulent outcome saying the 21-day time-frame used to review detailed technical and financial submissions from 5 companies competing to manage the interconnect clearing house (ICH) system was “farcical”.
They also claimed that the evaluation panel even admitted in its report that no pre-qualification was done and that the panel also had no prior guidance and assistance from the NCA’s technical staff. “The most telling point for IMANI is the fact that the panel manipulated its own scoring scheme to ensure that Afriwave came on top, regardless of the actual results.”
“Afriwave was awarded 5 marks in a section where the total available marks were ‘1’. This is the part where the applicants were to show that their ‘operational support team’ for the planned undertaking is up to scratch by presenting their CVs,” their release stated.
In light of these developments, IMANI say they are resurrecting their campaign against the current ICH policy, reiterating their demands to have the telecom industry freely choose a clearing house and to have the Ministry of Communications re-open the tender and provide adequate time for best practices to be followed.
They are also urging President John Mahama and the Ministry of Communications to act quickly on the new information in order redeem the credibility of the whole process. Find below IMANI’s reasons for declaring the Afriwave deal fraudulent.
- For such a complex undertaking, the 21 day timeframe used to review detailed technical and financial submissions from 5 companies competing to manage such a mission critical system as a monopoly interconnect clearing house system was not merely ridiculous, it was farcical.
- The Evaluation Panel itself admit in its report that no pre-qualification was done. So in addition to the NCA never having reviewed the report of the Evaluation Panel, the panel also had no prior guidance whatsoever from the NCA’s technical staff to assist it in its work.
- There were no visits whatsoever to any of the applicants’ operational locations or premises to ascertain their existing capacity.
- There were no client references or testimonials of previous work done in the clearing and general telecom intermediation space. In fact, there were no references of any kind at all.
- Some of the criteria were blunt instruments of no real relevance to the assessment. For instance, the Panel’s idea of preventing ‘conflict of interest’ was to penalise any applicant who may already have a license with the NCA without regard to the broad range of licenses issued by the NCA. How could someone with a radio broadcasting license for instance be conflicted in providing ICH services?
- Now the real meat. The Panel manipulated its own scoring scheme to ensure that Afriwave came on top, regardless of the actual results, and they did so with a brazenness that is almost farcical.
- Afriwave was awarded 5 marks in a section where the total available marks were ‘1’. This is the part where the applicants were to show that their ‘operational support team’ for the planned undertaking is up to scratch by presenting their CVs.
- This is on top of the fact that Subah having won all the two points available in the ‘Project Implementation Team’ subscore, compared to Afriwave’s score of 1, it was highly irregular for Afriwave to have been declared as having a superior ‘operational support team’ given how interlinked the two requirements are.
- It is weird that the panel purported to evaluate the company’s ‘Switch and Routing Platform’ and Fraud Management System, when Afriwave to date has been involved solely in the mast erection space. Which Switch, Routing and Anti-Fraud systems exactly were reviewed? Our understanding is that this evaluation was carried out on diagrams submitted by the parties.
- Despite the ‘equipment identity register’ subscore having a maximum score of 1, Afriwave was awarded 4 marks against Subah’s 1.
- Despite evidence of Telco Interconnections having a maximum subscore of 2, Afriwave was awarded 4 marks.
- Despite ‘topology scalability’ having a maximum subscore of 1, Afriwave was awarded 2 marks.
- Likewise, the requirement to provide a critical bill of quantity could only be scored a maximum of 1, yet, here too, Afriwave was given 2 marks.
- Afriwave was thus given as much as 11 extra points for technical performance it could not have demonstrated, as the ratings were above the maximum allowed. I.e. the scoring was a mathematical impossibility.
- If these strangely awarded points are subtracted from Afriwave’s actual score, it should obtain 67.2 points, and not 78.2 points, and consequently should have lost out to Subah in the tender.
Source : citifmonline.com