Uk SFO contacts Vodafone over controversial Ghana deal
The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has contacted Vodafone over its controversial deal to buy the majority stake in the former Ghana Telecom, Ghana’s national telecom company.
The Financial Times reports that Richard Alderman, director of the SFO has spoken by telephone to Stephen Scott, head of Vodafone’s legal affairs last week.
According to the report the SFO has not launched an investigation into the deal, but is monitoring allegations of irregularities that have been made in Ghana.
Mr. Scott, the report indicated told Mr. Alderman that Vodafone had acted entirely properly in the transaction with the government of Ghana last year when it bought a 70% stake in the then Ghana Telecom.
The sale agreement which was endorsed by Ghana’s Parliament despite the minority’s and other groups’ misgivings is even the subject of a court case in Ghana by a another group of six Ghanaians led by Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa, former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service. The rest are Kossi Dede, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, Naa Kordai Assimeh, Rodaline Imoru Ayarna and Kwame Jantua.
In May 2009, the government of Ghana set up a ministerial committee to review the sale agreement. In its report, the ministerial committee said the Ghana government, because of “a series of complicated financial arrangements”, only received $266.6m under the sale agreement.
Meanwhile, Vodafone said in July 2008 that it had reached a $900 million deal with the Ghanaian government to acquire 70% stake of Ghana Telecom.
The report also challenged a clause in the sale agreement that allegedly precludes the government, which retained a 30% stake in Ghana Telecom, from bringing corruption proceedings against company employees. The committee also called for a renegotiation of the deal.
Vodafone after acquiring the stake on April 15, 2009 changed the name of Ghana Telecom and its mobile business Onetouch to Vodafone Ghana.