The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) is calling for Chinese telecom infrastructure and device vendor, Huawei Techologies Ghana Limited to be kicked out of the country because of their alleged illegal involvement the country's politics.
Documental evidence from AFAG indicates Huawei provides sponsorship to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the form of party paraphernalia, which contravenes the Political Party’s Act, Act 574 of Ghana.
AFAG provided invoices to journalists showing Huawei printed NDC paraphernalia such as t-shirts, key holders, and handkerchiefs with two Chinese-based companies to the tune of about US$150,000 between March and July 2012.
The first invoice from Chinaband International Limited dated March 3, 2012 showed that Huawei paid US$62,698 for 50,000 t-shirts bearing the picture of the late President John Evans Ata Mills and the NDC logo (the umbrella). Huawei Ghana received the consignment on May 9, 2012.
Another invoice from Chinaband International Limited, dated April 3, 2012, also showed Huawei paid US$34,794.21 for 25,000 t-shirts bearing the picture of the sitting President John Dramani Mahama, and Huawei received that consignment on July 26, 2012, two days after the death of President Ata Mills.
The third invoice was dated May 5, 2012 and it was from Richfile Industrial (Shenzhen) Company Limited; it showed that Huawei paid US$42,040 for 30,000 t-shirts, 20,000 handkerchiefs and 10,000 key holders bearing the pictures of NDC logo, late President Ata Mills, and the Ghana flag.
Recently the government of Ghana gave Huawei some US$43 million tax exemption on a US$150 million e-government project that Huawei is undertaking in Ghana. That exemption generated heated debate in Parliament, but Huawei said in an email to Adom News they are not the only beneficiaries of tax exemptions in Ghana, and besides they paid some US$9million tax in 2011.
AFAG also alleged that Huawei has been sponsoring some NDC officials on private and partisan trips to China, and that government may have offered Huawei the e-government project in exchange for those favours.
Meanwhile, Hauwei Ghana Public Relations Director, Geoffrey Lichenhui had earlier said in his email to Adom Newss “Huawei is never involved in politics…”, but the evidence seems to contradict that claim.
The Huawei Group itself has issues of alleged security breaches and corruption hanging around its head all over the world.
Huawei recently lost all government contracts in the USA and Australia for allegedly installing equipment to spy on those countries for China. They are being investigated in the EU for alleged financial support from Chinese government, that enables them to offer services at ridiculously cheaper and flexible rates and thereby win contracts over other major telecom infrastructure vendors.
Reliable sources from Nigeria told this reporter Huawei did was able to win contracts from government and telcos with heavy financial backing from the Chinese Exim Bank, which enabled them to finance and build infrastructure on long-term loan basis.
Huawei was said to have leveraged on that to demand a longer-term revenue share arrangements from the beneficiaries of its support, beside the repayment of the loan. It is yet to be confirmed if they have a similar deal in Ghana with regards to the e-government project.
In June this year, two Huawei officers were sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery and corruption in Algeria, but the two have since been whisked away from Algeria to China, and Huawei has refused to return them to Algeria to face the law.
Bright Acheampong of AFAG told Adom News the support Huawei gave to NDC is a clear violation of Sections 23(1) and 24 the Political Parties’ Act, Act 574, which stated that “only a citizen may contribute whether in cash or in kind to the fund of a political party.”
Section 24 also states that “A non-citizen shall not directly or indirectly make a contribution or donation or loan whether in cash or in kind to the funds held by or for the benefit of a political party and no political party or person acting for or on behalf of a political party shall demand or accept a contribution donation or loan from a non-citizen”.
Political Party's Act Violated
AFAG said to the extent that NDC and Huawei had violated the Political Party’s Act, the party must be made to face the penalties as provided in Section 25(1 and 2) of the Act.
Section 25 (1) says “where any person contravenes section 23 or 24, in addition to any penalty that may be imposed under this Act, any amount whether in cash or in kind paid in contravention of the section shall be forfeited to the State and the amount shall be recovered from the political party as debt owed to the State. The political party or person in whose custody the amount is for the time being held shall pay it to the State.”
Section 25 (2) states that “A non-citizen found guilty of contravention of section 24 shall be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant and liable to deportation under the Aliens Act, 1963 (Act 160)”.
Bright Acheampong is therefore insisting that the state should take possession of everything Huawei gave to NDC, and Huawei and its Chinese officials should be deported from Ghana with immediate effect.
He hinted that if the law does not take its course, AFAG would take further steps to ensure that law is upheld fully.
Vice President of IMANI Ghana, Kofi Bentil said AFAG did the right thing, but the onus is on them to carry the issue further and go to court and ensure that Huawei and NDC faced the law.
When Adom News reached NDC Propaganda Secretary, Richard Quarshigah, he agreed to provide a response but later did not pick his phone.
Huawei officials also asked for more time to prepare a response after studying the issues raised by AFAG.
The company is undertaking a US$150 million e-government project in Ghana, in spite of security concerns raised in other jurisdiction. They also supply data devices like modems, routers and handsets to all six telecom operators in Ghana.
Huawei is currently gearing up to launch its brand of smart devices, like smartphone and tablets in Ghana later this month.