There was drama in Parliament today, September 27, 2018, when the Chairman of Parliament’s Communication Committee, Kennedy Agyapong, and a member of the Committee, Sam George, nearly traded blows in a meeting to discuss the controversy surrounding the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project.
The altercation, which was said to have almost turned physical occurred in a meeting with representatives from the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), and the Communication Committee in a bid to address concerns over the DTT project.
It is currently unclear what caused the altercation.
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GIBA has petitioned the Committee to look into claims that government intends to hand over the DTT infrastructure to Chinese firm, StarTimes to manage; a claim the Ministry of Communication has denied.
Members of GIBA were said to be looking on helplessly while the two – Sam George, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram and Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central engaged in heated exchanges.
Sam George had earlier told Citi News that the meetingwas expected to help resolve the seeming impasse between the government and GIBA on the matter.
“We are supposed to meet with GIBA on Thursday. The agenda is to discuss the issues going on. There are issues in the communication space. And so the committee is going to sit to have a conversation. GIBA has sent in a petitioned to us over the issues involving the Ministry and StarTimes,” he said.
Citi News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Duke Mensah Opoku, however reported that the meeting has been suspended for a moment “following a near display of fisticuffs between the Chairman of the Committee, Kennedy Agyapong and Sam George.”
The government has postponed migration to digital broadcasting for more than three times.
It however contracted StarTimes in 2012 to supply and install the digital terrestrial television (DTT) infrastructure for Ghana.
The infrastructure was to guarantee multiple TV channels, clearer pictures, better sound quality and offer more opportunities for advertisers and broadcasters.
The project which cost $95 million was supposed to have been completed before 2015.
But StarTimes allegedly failed to execute the project within the timelines hence the contract was abrogated in 2014 and handed over to Ghanaian firm, K-NET.
The termination of the contract according the then Minister for Communications, Omane Boamah, was due to “failure of the company to secure the necessary funding from the China Exim Bank to execute the project.”