The former second deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Johnson Asiama has rubbished claims that Ghanaians were ultimately going to pay for the GHc4.6 billion deal by Sibtons switch systems if the company had executed the mobile money interoperability deal.
Speaking on Starr Today on Tuesday, Dr. Asiama said claims by government appointees that additional charges were going to be passed on to the tax payer to make up for the huge cost of the deal are erroneous and must be disregarded.
The controversial Mobile Money Interoperability platform which was launched by the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has been executed by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) for 4million Ghana cedis, a huge reduction from the GHC4.6 billion earmarked for the project by the previous administration.
Dr. Asiama at a press conference on Monday had stated that Sibton switch, was selected through due process to execute the contract using a self-financing mechanism to raise the GH¢4.6 billion on their own to build a robust interface intended to ensure efficiency and safety.
“This was solely going to be paid for by them (Sibton) according to the proposal that they submitted. If there was any outlay at all the Bank of Ghana was going to make, we have provided for about ¢300,000.00,” Dr. Asiama stated.
But his comments were described as untenable by the deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah at a press briefing Tuesday.
“The claim that is being made that the actual cost of the project is GHC300, 000.00 is untenable. The fact is that the Government of Ghana in that old transaction was literally asked to stay behind and that makes matters more suspicious,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah stated.
However, in a reaction on Tuesday, Dr. Asiama stated that the charges for mobile money transactions were going to stay the same.
“If you read the documents, you would realise that we were dictating the fees, we were setting limits on the fees. We clear that at best the fees must not exceed what is being charged currently. We didn’t just leave the company to say when you invest your money you are free to go and charge people anything.
“They had negotiated with the stakeholders, they had met the telcos…they met with banks and there were certain concerns and they were to meet again. We had indicated clearly that at best the charges must not go above what was is being charged currently…without any tax payers money.”
Dr. Asiama also dismissed claims that GHIPSS was not invited to be part of the negotiations. According to him, GHIPSS had always been part of the deal because their interface was going to be used.
He added that GHIPSS wasn’t a major player in the deal because the company did not have the financial muscle to execute the contract if they were awarded the contract.
“GHIPSS did not have the financial muscle to execute the project…I had seen their documents…unless their boss was falsifying the documents for us.”
Dr. Asiama warned the NPP government to present the real facts in the ongoing controversy and not to politicise the issues concerning the mobile money interoperability.