Government Did Not Violate Any Laws – Joe Ghartey

Mr Joe Ghartey, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, who appeared before the Accra Fast Track High Court said government did not violate any laws in signing the Vodafone agreement.
Mr Ghartey said the Divestiture Implementation Committee Law (DIC) and the National Communication Authority (NCA) law were both not violated during the agreement signed for the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone.
In 2008 Government signed an agreement to off load 70 per cent shares of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone International B.V.
He said the agreement in section 6 ‘1’ (11) talks about a NCA letter, confirming that the agreement did not breach the Authority’s Act, and that the NCA was the only body under the law to implement the Act.
Mr Ghartey, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, told the court that the agreement went through the correct procedures before it was approved by Parliament.“The agreement was submitted to parliament and referred to the Committee on Finance and Communication after, which they accepted and recommended to parliament for approval.
“Both parliament and cabinet were satisfied and accepted the agreement,” he added. According to Mr Ghartey the agreement was in parliament for five weeks, reiterating the fact that the house was never in a haste to rectify it.
He argued that the agreement rectified by parliament was not at variance with what was rectified by government, saying that the investors only decided to use a different vehicle within the same entity.
Mr Bright Akwetey, Counsel for the plaintiffs, told the Court that in the divestiture the government of the day violated the DIC.
He said government flouted section 128, 129, 130 of the LI 17(19) of NCA regulation 2003, by not submitting the 3G license allocated to Vodafone to public tender and media publication before submission.
He noted that the agreement signed by parliament was not what was approved by government, saying that what the house Okayed was at variance with that which was ratified by the Executive.
Mr Akwettey also argued that by the creation of the enlarged GT Group the Companies Act was also violated by government. He said government handed over the whole National Communications backbone to Vodafone.
He said five state enterprises were added to the 70 per cent shares to Vodafone… indicating that government did not only give out the shares but also gave out freely five state companies.
The Court presided over by Justice Gertrude Torkornu adjourned the case to July 10. The court action was initiated at the Commercial Court in October 2008 by Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Michael Kosi Dedey, Dr Nii Moi Thompson, Naa Kordai Assimeh, Ms Rhodaline Imoru Ayarna and Mr Kwame Jantuah, all members of the Convention People’s Party.
The six are seeking a declaration that the agreement entered into by the government in offloading its 70 per cent shares was not in accordance with due process of law and should be annulled.
The six Ghanaians contended that the decision by government to transfer the assets, property shares, equipment, among others, to Vodafone was obnoxious, unlawful and inimical to the public interest, particularly when no compensation was required from Vodafone for the stated assets.
The reliefs they are seeking from the Court include a declaration that the agreement entered into by the government was not in accordance with due process of the law and was, therefore, a nullity.
Source: GNA

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