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Manasseh blows alarm on how one-week-old firm was awarded 5G contract by government

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General News of Friday, 31 May 2024

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has raised questions about the government’s decision to award a contract to Next Gen Infraco Ltd. to roll out Ghana’s 5G infrastructure project.

In a post shared on X by the journalist, who attached some documents relevant to the transaction, said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo granted executive approval to the contract on August 22, 2023, just a week after Next Gen Infraco Ltd was formed.

He questions why there was no competitive bidding before the contract was awarded, demanding transparency and fairness in the contract for the 5G project, which is set to be rolled out within six months.

“The company that has been handed the deal was formed less than a week before the president’s approval. The 5G technology, according to industry experts, can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Why is it being handed to one company without an auction? Why were different companies not allowed to bid for the contract?,” Awuni wrote.

“What is the track record of a company that was formed less than a week before the president approved the deal? What is the relationship between this company and Smart Infraco?,” he questioned.

Meanwhile, Minister for Communications and Digitalisation Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who confirmed the transaction on Thursday, May 30, 2024 at a press briefing in Accra justified the decision to award Next Gen Infraco Ltd. with the contract.

She explained that the company was specifically established to undertake the 5G rollout, adding that no related infrastructure company, at the time the contract was handed out, had the capacity to manage the roll-out of the 5G network services.

“So, it had to be specifically formed for the purpose of delivering this service based on the strategic policies and decisions of the government, and it is borne out of our experiences, and that is why we chose not to auction it,” the minister explained.

“This is a special purpose vehicle, and once the government took the decision that we will use a neutral infrastructure company to deliver this service, there is no existing neutral infrastructure company that can deliver it at the moment,” Ursula Owusu-Ekuful added.

Why is it being handed to one company without an auction?
Why were different companies not allowed to bid for the contract?
What is the track record of a company that was formed less than a week before the president approved the deal?
How do this company and Smart Infraco relate?

— Manasseh Azure Awuni (@Manasseh_Azure) May 30, 2024

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