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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gov’t Distances Itself From Vodafone Report

The government has distanced itself from a report produced by a committee it set up to scrutinise the sale of its telecoms firm to Vodafone. The report, seen by the BBC, said Ghana Telecom (GT) was sold to the UK-based company for less than it was worth.

It said the sale of GT had been "unconstitutional" and "illegal". But the communications minister said the committee had overstepped its remit and should wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the sale. The court is expected to deliver a preliminary judgement on the case later this month.

"The government… cannot be associated with comments or reports that seek to undermine our respect for independent state institutions and the rule of law," Communications Minister Haruna Iddrisu told Ghana's Joy FM radio station. The BBC's David Amanor in the capital, Accra, says in distancing itself from the report that it commissioned, the government is pre-empting criticism from the opposition that oversaw the sale of GT while in power.

Ministers are also trying to reassure foreign investors that they are safe so long as their transactions respect local and international laws, analysts say. Vodafone bought a 70% stake in Ghana Telecom (GT) and its assets for $900m (£570m) last year. The report, compiled by a government review committee, said "through a complicated series of financial arrangements" the actual price released was less than $267m - far less than the annual earnings potential of GT.
Source: BBC

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