North Tongu Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has petitioned the World Bank to investigate the Ascend contract allegedly awarded by Minister of Communications and Digitalisation Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.
The Ministry of Communications and Digitalization (MoCD) in December 2022 awarded the World Bank-funded project worth US$49.5million to Messrs. Airtel Ghana Limited and Ascend Digital Solutions Limited (ADSL).
In his petition, he said that he became aware of a litany of major alleged irregularities, illegal conduct and fundamental breaches of the Bank’s Anti-Corruption Guidelines in the award and execution of the Contract for the Procurement of Connectivity Needs to Increase High Speed Government Connectivity to District Centres, Hospitals, Police Stations and Post Offices in Five Lots under the eTransform Project.
This petition, he said, is anchored on unimpeachable documents and the patriotic and credible accounts of whistleblowers who courageously stand ready to assist the Bank in its much-needed investigations.
“The documents in my possession which bring me to an irresistible conclusion of collusion, misrepresentation and other multiple legal violations include: tender submission documents from AirtelTigo/Ascend Digital Solutions Limited, the contract between the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation and AirtelTigo/Ascend Digital Solutions Limited, sub-contract between AirtelTigo/Ascend Digital Solutions Limited and Huawei Technologies Ghana Limited, intercepted internal memos, response to my Right to Information Request from Ghana’s Public Procurement Authority, Official Reports of Parliament, Articles of Incorporation, social media statements from the Minister of Communications and Digitalization, a public statement from the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications.
“Upon a careful review of the documents, I discovered a declaration letter in support of Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd from the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) offering a categorical Proof of Contract between GIFEC and Ascend Digital Solutions Limited (ADSL) under the Ghana Rural Telephony Project being implemented by GIFEC which is an agency of the MoCD.
“In addition, the AirtelTigo/Ascend tender made emphatic claims that Ascend Digital Solutions Limited is executing a US$48million Rural Telephony Project which between 2020 and 2021 delivered 506 sites out of which 250 “got commissioned.” (Both documents are attached).
“Following these discoveries, I promptly made a request under Ghana’s Right to Information Act, Act 989 to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) in line with our Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as Amended with (Act 914) dated June 8, 2023 to ascertain whether the PPA has approved any procurement request for a US$48million contract between GIFEC and ADSL under the Ghana Rural Telephony Project. The PPA in its response of June 30, 2023 (as attached) confirmed without equivocation that they have not approved any such procurement request,” portion of the petition said.