Former Minister for Communications, Dr Omane Boamah, has revealed that he faced many challenges in the award of contract for Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration process.
Dr Boamah said Star Communication Network Technology of China (StarTimes China) frustrated his efforts to ensure due diligence in the award of the DDT contract.
“Forces of darkness work against you when you are fighting for Ghana,” he bemoaned.
The former minister was commenting on the controversy that has greeted government’s engagement with StarTimes.
StarTimes has clinched a controversial deal with the Government of Ghana to extend satellite TV to 300 villages in Ghana amid fierce opposition from GIBA, an association of local broadcasters.
The deal comes with substantial tax waivers from Government of Ghana.
StarTimes has also been awarded a deal by the Ministry of Communication to finish the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Network Platform started by K-NET, a local firm.
According to the Communications Ministry, K-NET has stalled on the projects due to financial constraints, hence the need for StarTimes to finish it up.
But Dr Omane Boamah on Adom FM’s morning show, Dwaso Nsem Wednesday bemoaned how the government is championing the cause of China at the expense of Ghanaian interests.
In his view, it is obvious the China government is “breathing down the neck of government” that is why it is bent on giving StarTimes the contract.
The former Communications Minister cited how StarTimes China refused to participate in a competitive tender which KNET, a Ghanaian company won after its contract was terminated to buttress his point.
Rather, StarTimes-China filed a writ in Ghana against the decision and applied for an injunction to restrain the Ministry of Communications from inviting new tenders for the DTT project but on 9th March 2015, Ghana won when the Commercial Division of the High Court dismissed the interlocutory injunction and awarded cost of US$50,000 against StarTimes.
Dr Omane Boamah, therefore, found it strange the Communications Ministry headed by Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful is seeking to exonerate StarTimes for no wrongdoing.
He appealed to government to desist from working against Ghana’s interest at the ICC arbitration and seek the interest of Ghanaian businessmen.