Kelni GVG case: Court dismisses injunction against Communications ministry

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful,Minister of Communications

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful,Minister of Communications

An Accra human rights high court yesterday dismissed a suit seeking to stop implementation of $179 million revenue monitoring contract between the government and Kelni GVG.

In dismissing the suit, the court, presided by Justice Anthony Yeboah, said the application lacked merit, grounded on speculation and ongoing public debate, and that the applicants failed to disclose their source of information to the court.

Justice Mensah said he was not convinced that implementation of the contract would cause irreparable damage to the applicants; Ms Sara Asafu-Adjaye and Maximus Ametorgoh.

He said the current scope and architecture of the contract did not breach the fundamental rights of the plaintiffs.

There was no order as to cost as the court held that it was a public interest matter.

In the writ filed on June 8, plaintiffs urged the court to place an injunction on the deal because it infringed their fundamental rights to privacy.

Also joined to the motion on notice to enforce the fundamental human rights of the applicants as defendants, are the National Communications Authority (NCA), the Attorney-General, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Airtel Ghana, MTN Ghana, Tigo Ghana and Vodafone Ghana.

The applicants sought a declaration that plans of the Minister of Communications, the NCA and the GRA to implement the common platform (CP), by connecting real time to the entire switch of the physical network nodes of Airtel Ghana, MTN Ghana, Tigo Ghana and Vodafone Ghana, under the $179–million Kelni GVG contract, constitutes an infringement on the applicants’ fundamental human rights to privacy.

The applicants further demanded declaration that the conduct of Airtel Ghana, MTN Ghana, Tigo Ghana and Vodafone Ghana to grant access to the Minister of Communications, the NCA and the GRA to implement the common platform by connecting real time to the entire switch of their physical network nodes, constitutes an infringement on the applicants’ fundamental human rights to privacy.

They sought further declaration that the implementation of the common platform by the Minister, the NCA and the GRA by connecting real time to the entire switch of the physical network nodes of Airtel Ghana, MTN Ghana, Tigo Ghana and Vodafone is in breach of Section 7 of the Communication Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Act 864).

The applicants wanted a declaration that the implementation of the common platform by the Minister of Communications, the NCA and the GRA by connecting real time to the entire switch of the physical network nodes of the Airtel Ghana, MTN Ghana, Tigo Ghana and Vodafone Ghana is in breach of Section 73 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775).

The applicants asked the court to grant an order of perpetual injunction against the respondents, by restraining them from implementing the common platform through connecting real time to the entire switch of the physical network nodes or in any other way which will infringe the applicant’s fundamental human rights to privacy.

The defendants argued that they have put in place mechanisms to protect the privacy of individuals, and disagreed that the nodes monitor conversations and said the common platform (CP) only monitors revenue.

Meanwhile, the court, in a different suit filed by Selorm Brantie, John Ato Bonful, Naana Adom Boakye Kanyi, seeking the disclosure of contract documents, issued a six-day ultimatum to the Ministry of Communications on July 3, 2018, to submit documents on the monitoring revenue contract to the applicants.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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