Sources close to former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Nashiru Issahaku, say he did not author a statement attributed to him and being circulated on social media.
The statement purported to quote Mr Issahaku as saying “I wish to categorically state that the claim that the Bank of Ghana (BOG), under the previous NDC regime was to commit an amount of GH¢4.6 billion of public funds into the proposed switch to interconnect mobile money transactions is totally false and should be disregarded.”
But he has denied issuing any such statement on the raging controversy over the cost of building a platform for seamless financial transactions by telecom operators and banks, and mobile money transaction.
The launch last week of the Mobile Money Payment Interoperability System, by Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has reignited last year’s debates over the project.
In 2016, it was reported that Bank of Ghana had awarded private company Sibton Switch Ltd., a 4.6 billion Cedis contract to build a system which would "among other things serve as a single window for all e-payment transactions....to increase penetration and enhancing payment delivery channels".
The telecom companies opposed the arrangement, with many arguing the contract sum was outrageously high.
With the change in government, Vice-President Bawumia, who is a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana was petitioned over the contract.
He announced last year the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Central Bank had been tasked to build the system at a much lower cost of $4 million.
Launching the system on May 10, the Vice-President said President Akufo-Addo’s belief in the Ghanaian’s ability to do things efficiently had been affirmed.
Social media revived the argument over the difference in the cost of the project.
A leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko posted on Facebook, “Why are we quiet on things like this? Just before President Mahama left office, Ghana signed a contract to pay a company sponsored by Roland Agambire, $1.2 billion for providing a service which the Akufo-Addo government, with negotiations led by the Vice President, has made sure it will be done at merely $4.5 million. Yes! You heard me right! Just a tiny fraction of what the NDC was prepared to get the same thing done at. You and I would have paid for such gross disregard for the public purse. Please! The NPP and the NDC are not the same! They cannot be. That is not to say, one is manned by angels and the other by something else. No! There are good and bad nuts in both. But, most importantly, it is about the integrity, foresight, competence and substance of those who lead. One government was prepared to pay “contractors” 5.6 billion or so Ghana Cedis for work supposedly done that cannot be verified. The other government, after taking office, stopped it! Don’t be fooled. Ghana is on track.”
This sparked off a flurry of similar posts and comparisons.
Mr Stan Dogbe, Head of the Communications Bureau at Presidency under the John Mahama administration wrote on his Facebook wall, “The project was owned by the Bank of Ghana and was to be implemented without public funds, but with enormous benefit to us, financial consumers, the firms and the economy.
“There was no contract sum, or payment of $4.6bn (other times told GH¢4.6bn) to be made to any company for the project.
“We are told, now, that Bawumia has taken over the project and executed it for $4m. Which obviously means that it is no longer a BoG project and public funds of $4m has been committed to this.
“Bawumia and his copy copy party boys are telling us that the completed project is Phase 1, and which amounted to the $4m. What they have not told you is how much phase 2 and phase 3 and probably phase 4 is going to cost.
“Who were the beneficiaries of this $4m, and how were they sourced and how much exactly were they paid?
Monday, some former government officials circulated a statement attributed to Dr Issahaku under whose governorship, the BoG awarded the contract.
The unsigned statement has proved to be fake.