Huawei under fire in Ghana for alleged bribery

Summary:The Chinese company is accused of breaking electoral laws by funding ruling party for 2012 election, reportedly in return for a US$43 million tax exemption.

China's Huawei Technologies has been accused of bribing Ghana's ruling party, in return for a US$43 million tax exemption, leading to calls for the telecoms equipment maker to be kicked out of the country.

At a press conference in the capital Accra, a spokesman for Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), Davis Opoku, produced documentary evidence to support the civil society group's claims, according to a report Wednesday by the Daily Guide.

He claimed Huawei had been funding the activities and operations of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), breaking the country’s electoral laws.

According to news site Joy Online, the documents shown at the press conference included invoices and plane tickets for some government officials. These indicated Huawei had been printing campaign paraphernalia, T-shirts, cups, caps and key holders, worth millions of dollars, for the NDC's 2012 election campaign.

The AFAG said following the "immoral" gesture by Huawei, the government "in a reciprocal gesture awarded the Huawei group what could arguably go down as one of the juiciest contracts to be doled out by the current NDC government", according to a report by the Statesman Online.

The Statesman noted the deal awarded to Huawei in September 2011 involved a contract totalling US$150 million for an e-government platform.

The Chronicle pointed out under Ghana's Political Parties Act, only a citizen may contribute in cash or in kind to the funds of a political party. 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, it added.

If found guilty, Huawei and the NDC party could face hefty sanctions, according to AFAG, which has also called for the immediate deportation of Huawei officials for the violation of the Political Parties Act.

Elsewhere in Africa, the telecoms equipment maker has also been subject to investigations. Earlier this month, the Ugandan government reportedly ordered an investigation into its national fiber optic project over alleged inflated costs and use of inferior equipment by Huawei.

In markets such as the United States, Huawei has been under the spotlight for accusations of spying, due to alleged links to the Chinese military. However, a White House review released on Thursday has so far found no evidence. It is still under scrutiny in the UK, which is set to launch its own investigations . The company has also been banned from taking part in Australia's NBN project due to national security concerns.

ZDNet Asia did not get a reply from Huawei at time of publishing.

Topics: Legal, Government, Networking, Tech Industry, Telcos

About

Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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