Human Rights Court presided over by Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, Justice Anthony Yeboah, has dismissed an interlocutory application seeking to stop government from going ahead with the implementation of the single platform meant to monitor the revenue patterns of all telecommunication companies in Ghana, popularly known as the Kelni GVG Contract.
The Applicants were before the Court because they insist that having followed the public debate and upon further enquiry, they gathered that the 1st (Ministry of Communication), 2nd (National Communication Authority) and 3rd (Ghana Revenue Authority) Respondents, who are primarily responsible for the implementation of the common platform, intend to carry out the exercise in a manner which will be in breach of the Applicants’ fundamental human right to privacy.
The Plaintiffs also claim that the architecture of the common platform to be implemented is such that instead of connecting to only the billing node provided by the telecom companies as stipulated under Act 864, the connection will be made to all the physical nodes, and it will be a breach of Article 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution. According to the Applicants, the mobile networks have a statutory duty to protect their customers, including the Plaintiffs, under Section 73 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775), by ensuring that correspondence and communications of customers are not intercepted or interfered with.
Today in Court
In his ruling that lasted about 25 minutes, the Presiding Judge ruled that the application by the two Applicants was merely based on public sentiments and debates as they failed to provide any real evidence to back their claims that their privacy would be breached should the contract be executed in its current form.
On the other hand, the National Communication Authority, the Ministry of Communication and the Ghana Revenue Authority in their affidavit to the Court demonstrated that the monitoring system was not capable of being used to monitor calls and text messages of Ghanaians and that the interest of the system was solely to monitor the telecommunication companies for purposes of revenue collection. The Court subsequently stated that on the balance of convenience, the state was likely to suffer irreparable damage if an injunction is granted as compared to the Applicants. To that end, the Court dismissed the application in its entirety.
Representation in Court
The Deputy Minister for Communication, George Andah, was present in court as well as representatives for the court hearing. Lawyers Eddy Macharty and Kofi Bentil, represented the Applicants. The Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. Kofi Nti was also present in court.
By: Ghana/Ultimatefmonline.com/106.9/Wilberforce Asare