The $2.5million (Ghc10.99m) that the New Patriotic Party government paid VOKACOM to reinvent a digital addressing system, which already exists for free, is bad enough, but the ugly part of the scandal is that codes that the new system generates are poisonous to computers.
A Ghanaian IT expert based in the US, Kingsley Komla Elikem, has said that if such codes generated by the Ghana Post GPS are fed into computers, the computers may either crash or fall down.
“The code we are generating on Ghana Post GPS, you can’t put it in Google, in fact if you put it in Google, it will give you nothing. Try it (try the Code generated from Ghana Post GPS) put it in Google and see, if your machine does not crash, it will fall down,” Mr. Elikem told Accra based Class FM yesterday.
According to him, the digital addressing system developed for Ghana Post is not only a total disappointment and waste of money; it is also actually a danger to computer browsers.
He also said that some fantastic things that have been claimed about the new GPS are barefaced lies that insult the intelligence of Ghanaians and that Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, who had claimed that the Ghana Post GPS App would put Ghana ahead of the US and the UK has made a mockery of himself.
Mr. Elikem, whose video pointing out the poor quality of the Ghana Post GPS has gone viral, boxed the PRO of Ghana Post, one Nana Opoku into a corner, in an interview on Accra based Class FM, leaving him tongue-tied when Mr. Opoku was called on to answer to issues that he had raised about the bogusness of the Ghana Post GPS.
Kingsley Komla Elikem, the umpteenth IT expert who has pooh-poohed the Ghana Post GPS app had started off expressing deep disappointment in President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia who had whipped up a lot of expectations only to disappoint badly.
“The Vice President spoke about something that we should be expecting and that we were doing a digital address system that is unprecedented, never seen before never heard about before the US and the UK would have been far behind and would have been far ahead. So it got many of us excited and so when it came out it was necessary that we took a look at it to see how far we have, like in the Vice President’s words, leaped and
“when they were launching it the President said the Vice President and his team worked so hard, so I could imagine a lot of man hours was put into this amount of work, but by the time I started to look at it, I realized they had done nothing. They did not step out of the office; it was just one person sitting in the office.
“The guy who did the coding is in Seattle and so he just sat down and did some coding. Nobody is disputing the fact that the server is in United States and so that was all that it was about. Nothing was done, no work was done. Currently, everything they have done is already existing…” Mr. Kingsley Komla had said.
A fool and his money easily parted
The US based IT expert, who had refused to get into the contracting of VOKACOM, a company allegedly belonging to a campaign sponsor of President Akufo-Addo, said it was obvious that the Vice President was an ignoramus in the IT field who had been bamboozled into paying the Ghc10.99million for an app that already exists for free.
According to him, it appears that Dr. Bawumia had been hoodwinked into parting with Ghc10.99million for something that was as free as oxygen.
“…I pity Dr. Bawumia because I genuinely feel that may be he absolutely has no idea about the field and so when the guys came and pitched the idea to him, he thought yei!.. I have never seen this before! I’ve never heard before! Let me buy into it but its unfortunate that this is nothing new..its already available.”
Reinvention of the wheel
To prove that the system was already available for free, Mr. Elikem, through phone, instructed a producer and the anchor of the program into which he had called to enable them access locations with codes.
It came to pass, that even though Kingsley Komla Elikem was not in the Class FM studio his instructions were followed to locate the Tamale hospital, the Accra Girls Senior High School and even the Salaga Road, all on the Google Map app which is available for free on all android phones and downloadable from the Google Playstore.
He said, after the program had been launched he had called the developers and had learned to his shock that contrary to Dr. Bawumia’s claim that what was being developed was extraordinary, the whole App had been based on latitudes and longitudes which already existed.
“One of the things they did was that you’ll generate a number, a number for you that nobody has. And I had the opportunity to have a discussion with them and this is just based on the latitudes and longitudes but it is already existing”
He lamented that the platform that has been developed for a whopping Ghc10.99million (190 billion old cedis) is something that already exists for free and in many different forms.
Insulting intelligence of Ghanaians
“If we wanted to do something we could have just improved on what is already existing. To come and tell us that you are coming to give something supernatural, I find it insulting,” Mr. Elikem said..
What is worst is that the codes that can be generated from the Ghana Post GPS platform, could actually be a danger to computer browsers, according to Mr. Elikem, to the extent that they can even crash computers. And this is in addition to the fact that if you key them into the Google Map, it cannot generate anything.
“In their post it says that it will generate a unique number that will be for you and you alone, it is not true because what they have done is that s they’ve coded it such that it will map you for every 5 meter square. 5 meter is less than one plot. It is 54by54 square feet. This is smaller than a house.”
Ghana should reject new APP and ask for reversal
“Now, so the only option that we have is to go out there and tell the world bodies that listen guys, even though you’ve given us this code, we don’t like it. The only thing that they have done is to change these alpha numeric characters into all numbers that’s it.”
Emphasizing that the Ghana Post GPS is a poor attempt top reinvent the wheel, he said that the world has already been mapped out with the first attempt happening in1935 when explorer 2 started taking pictures all the way to 2006 when the second high resolution machine went into orbit.
The Indian example
Due to the already existing resources, he said, a couple in India who had started a GPS map out of India as far back as 1994 had taken advantage of the already existing technology in the UK and the US. Map India, he said has since become a competitor to Google Map and other such Apps in India.
Readers would recall that former Information Minister in the predecessor NDC government, Mahama Ayariga, has already revealed that local Waste Management company, Zoom Lion, had hired the expertise of Indians to build a similar platform to enable it use it to distribute waste bins and collect waste in 2015.
Zoom Lion’s free gift to Ghana
Hon. Ayariga had made it clear that Zoom Lion had proposed to build the App with its own money but allow government agencies to avail themselves of the App once completed.
Earlier this year, he had revealed further, Zoom Lion’s CEO had invited the Parliamentary committee on Communication to its office to show them the completed App.
Ghana Post PRO do yaawa
At a point in Mr. Elikem’s interview on Class FM, the Public Relations Officer for Ghana Post, Nana Opoku, had been called on to speak to issues that the US based IT expert had raised but the man made a total mess of himself.
In answer to the fact that the $2.5million is payment for no work done, because the App already existed before it was reinvented, the man started reading out verbatim, the supposed benefits of the Ghana Post GPS App.
When his attention was called to the rubric, Nana Opoku confessed that he did not have answers to what Mr. Elikem was saying quickly pointing out that it was the NPP government which had contracted VOKACOM, a Ghanaian IT company to build the problematic App.
Nana Opoku ended the interview without saying a single word to justify the spending of a whopping Ghc10.99million on an App that already exists.
VOKACOM’s sweetheart deal
Nana Afrifa is said to have doled out a whopping $500,000 to the Akufo-Addo campaign effort. Many observers see the contract to build the Ghana Post GPS App as a sweetheart deal to reward the President’s campaign financier. It is not clear if VOKACOM had gone through tender to compete with other companies for the contract to do next to nothing for a cool Ghc10.99million.
Before the App would be built, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia had boasted that the App would make the US and the UK equivalents of what Ghana was building, look like stone age crude.
This is the same Dr. Bawumia who had claimed that Ghana would never need to borrow a dime if the NPP was voted into office in the 2016 election, even though he is the same person who has led efforts to borrow $20billion from China.
Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong, is reported to have said the Vice President is disgracing the NPP with his incessant lying and that if he does not turn over new leaf, his mouth will send the NPP into opposition in 2020.
Interestingly, at the launch of the Ghana Post GPS, President Akufo-Addo had described it as a fulfillment of a campaign promise. According to the President, his Vice had worked very hard with a team to develop the App which Kingsley Elikem has proven to be nothing but a couch potato job.