Ghana reviews Vodafone deal

2009-05-19 22:25

Accra - Ghana has set up a committee to review the sale of its telecom firm to Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone group by revenue, the minister of communications said on Tuesday.

"The review is not meant to revoke the sale and purchase agreement that Vodafone International signed with the government of Ghana, but to ascertain whether the contract was a genuine one," Haruna Iddrissu told AFP.

Britain-based Vodafone acquired a 70% stake in Ghana Telecom last August at a value of $900m, a deal which had been hotly debated in the parliament of the west African nation.

"The investigations are only to establish that there were no underhand dealings in the signing of the contract and the Ghanaian interest is protected," the minister said.

The five-member inter-ministerial committee, expected to submit its report in 90 days, would establish whether the country was short-changed in the deal.

The then opposition party, John Atta Mills's National Democratic Congress (NDC), which took power in January after winning the presidential poll, has said the process leading up to the deal was not transparent. Critics also said the deal was undervalued.

"The government, as a 30% shareholder, has access to documents covering the deal and can go ahead with any investigations. Our hands are clean and there is nothing to be scared of," said Major Don Chebe, a Vodafone spokesperson.

Vodafone operates in 25 countries and has partner networks in a further 42 countries.