GHC1.2bn NIA contract: Ken Agyapong is just ignorant – Attafuah

Prof. Ken Attafuah, CEO of the National Identification Authority (NIA), has rubbished allegations of corruption, thievery and fraud leveled against him by the NPP MP for Assin Central, Ken Agyepong.

According to Prof Attafuah, Ken Agyepong’s accusations in relation to the award of the National Identification System project contract can only be motivated by “ignorance, confusion and or needless malice.”

In a statement refuting the accusations by Ken Agyepong, Prof Attafuah said the assertion that he awarded the contract to Identity Management Systems Ltd (IMS), a subsidiary of the Margins Group in exchange for a piece of land to build a property, is a fallacy because while the house in question was built between September 2009 and December 2011, the NIS contract between the NIA and IMS was executed on 16th April 2018.

“Evidently, the construction of a house between 2009 and 2011 could not have been influenced by a contract awarded in 2018!”

Prof Ken Attafuah was appointed CEO of the NIA on 27th January 2017, and assumed office on 6th February of that same year.

Ken Agyepong has in the past week on Adom TV’s Badwam claimed also to have personally led an Indian firm to bid for the contract to roll-out the NIS and the Ghana Card project at a cost of $50 million only, a cost he said would have represented only a fraction of what government is being asked to pay.

However, Prof Attafuah says Ken Agyepong does not appear to be familiar with the cost implications of the project.

“By letter dated 22nd May 2017, Government directed the National Identification NIA to immediately engage with Identity Management Systems Ltd (IMS), a subsidiary of the Margins Group, to “agree on modalities to ensure the efficient roll-out of NIS project no later than 15th September 2017”.

“The said directive followed Government’s acceptance of the key recommendations of a Technical Committee established by the Vice President to develop a roadmap for implementing the NIS Project. Based on the recommendations of the Technical Committee, Government had “determined that the existing agreement between NIA and IMS constitutes a viable and effective vehicle for the implementation of a modern, robust and reliable NIS for Ghana consistent with Government’s stated policy commitments”. The government was to build on an existing Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between NIA and IMS, which it described as constituting a turnkey solution for the NIS Project.

“It is instructive to note that, the Technical Committee comprised 16 individuals, most of whom were heads of ICT or operations at a number of statutory public service institutions involved the issuance of identity cards or interested in data management. They included the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Electoral Commission (EC), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the NIA. Other members were from the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlements System (GHIPPS), National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Births and Deaths Registry, and the Office of the Vice-President.

“In the course of its work, the Committee, which I chaired, granted audience to 15 prospective solutions providers and the World Bank Group (acting in an advisory capacity) to present their potential solutions, and to share with the Committee their knowledge and experiences on relevant international best practices. One such entity was India-based Madras Security Printing, which was presented by Hon. Ken Agyapong. As with all entities, the Committee made it clear that it was neither receiving bids nor evaluating proposals or awarding contracts; it was merely an advisory body trying to understand what options for a solution might be available to Government for reviving Ghana’s NIS.

“In reaching a collective decision, each member personally decided and openly pronounced on which of the three possible options for a solution he/she favoured. All but two members selected the NIA-IMS solution. One of the two wrote a Dissenting Opinion to the Presidency, and same was thoroughly examined by the Presidency but rejected. Government approved of the majority. I had no capacity to, and did not, influence the decisions of either the Committee or Government on this highly technical matter.

“At the end of its work, the Committee concluded that there already existed a turnkey solution that supports the instant issuance of multi-purpose smart cards that meet technical requirements. The recommended solution was to expand the Foreigner Identification Management Systems (FIMS) Project developed by IMS for NIA, which was being executed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the two institutions since 2012. The expanded system anticipated the benefits of leveraging on NIA’s existing data and IT assets and the upgrading of NIA’s Data Centre which had become obsolete.”

Prof. Attafuah stated categorically that he has not done any of the things Ken Agyepong accuses him of, and “will put anyone asserting the contrary, including their agents, privies or assigns who gives the platform for these vituperative and utterly defamatory statements to be made, to the strictest proof.”

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