Having announced that it would sell 70 per cent of its shareholding in Ghana Telecom (GT) to Vodafone earlier this week, the Ghanaian government is faced with protests over why it failed to hold a competitive auction for the state-owned cell phone operator.
A minority group within the Ghanaian parliament is demanding to know why the privatisation of GT did not follow the required public tender process, and instead went into exclusive negotiations with Vodafone without consideration to other bidders, who were likely to offer higher bids. The group also wants an answer to why the government upped the stake it sold to 70 per cent from the 66.7 per cent it had originally planned to divest. Vodafone is paying US$900 million for its 70 per cent holding in a deal that is expected to be finalised in the next quarter. The company plans to launch its m-pesa mobile money transfer system to the 1.4 million GT subscribers sometime later this year.