We stand by content of leaked letter – NIA

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National Identification Authority Building
National Identification Authority Building

The National Identification Authority (NIA) says it stands by the content of the leaked September 13, 2021 letter in which it casts doubt on quality of the biometric data being collected by National Communications Authority (NCA) as part of the ongoing SIM registration exercise. 

The NIA, in the said letter, clearly stated that it cannot confirm that the bio data being collected by NCA can be verified against the existing National Identification System, contrary to what the NCA had made the entire public believe.

These are the exact words of the letter:

“The design and development of the process by which the NCA, acting by itself or through a third party, will collect and store biometric data of SIM card holders is exclusive to NCA. The NIA does NOT have any input in the development of the said Android Registration Application. For this reason, NIA is UNABLE to confirm that the biometric data to be collected by the NCA for the purpose described above will meet the standard to enable successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS) database.”  

Post the leaking of the letter, the NIA now confirms that the September 13 letter was indeed written by its Executive Secretary, Prof. Kenneth Attafuah in response to a request by the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT), and the letter was copied to three other state entities.

“The NIA stands by every statement contained in its response letter of 13th September 2021 as being technically factual, accurate, correct and honest. The letter was duly copied to the Hon. Minister for the Interior who is the Minister responsible for the NIS, the Hon. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, and the Executive Chairman of Identity Management Systems II Limited (IMS II),” it said.

The NIA however stated that it supports SIM registration conducted within the remit of the law and condemns the leakage of the September 13, 2021 letter because it betrays the trust between the stakeholder institutions.

Below is the full content of the NIA’s statement.

NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION AUTHORITY
PRESS RELEASE
NIA REACTS TO LEAKED LETTER
19th January, 2022

The attention of the National Identification Authority (NIA) has been drawn to a letter
circulating on social media with the caption: “RE: SIM REGISTRATION EXERCISE –
BIOMETRIC IDENTITY VERIFICATION VIA NCA ANDROID REGISTRATION APPLICATION”
The NIA notes that various meanings, interpretations, intentions and motives have been assigned to the said letter, resulting in concern, confusion and strident criticism. The NIA wishes to clarify the situation and set the record straight. Accordingly, NIA states as follows:

1. The substantive contents of the document in circulation reflect an authentic official letter written and signed by the Executive Secretary of the NIA, Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah. A copy of the original letter, without any obliterations, blotting or cancellations, unlike the document in circulation, is attached for easy reference.

2. Dated 13th September 2021 with Ref. No. NIA-R/OBI/V7/682, the said NIA letter was written in response to a letter to NIA by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT), Dr. Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey. The said GCT letter under the same caption was dated 3rd September 2021 and received at NIA on 7th September 2021. A copy of the GCT letter is attached for easy reference.

3. In the GCT letter of 3rd September 2021 with Ref. No. GCT/NIA/21/1073, Dr. Ashigbey sought three specific technical clarifications from NIA on the potential interface between the National Identification System (NIS) and the planned SIM registration exercise scheduled to commence on 1st October 2021.

4. In NIA’s response of 13th September 2021, the Executive Secretary of NIA addressed himself solely to the technical questions posed by the GCT;

5. The NIA stands by every statement contained in its response letter of 13th September 2021 as being technically factual, accurate, correct and honest. The letter was duly copied to the Hon. Minister for the Interior who is the Minister responsible for the NIS, the Hon. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, and the Executive Chairman of Identity Management Systems II Limited (IMS II);

6. The NIA fully supports SIM card registration in the country and does not in any way contest the mandate of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization (MoCD) or the National Communication Authority (NCA) to implement SIM card registration in accordance with law. Indeed, NIA has fully co-operated, in good faith and to the best of its abilities, with the MoCD and the NCA;

7. For the avoidance of doubt, NIA reiterates its ardent support for SIM card registration in this country as an important Government policy. The NIA greatly values inter-agency co-operation and collaboration for the attainment of Government’s development policies and programs. To this end, it has successfully co-operated, within the framework of the law and public policy, with other user agencies such as SSNIT, NHIA, GRA and the Controller &
Accountant-General’s Department in advancing data harmonization and integration in this country, and will continue to do so with the NCA and other state institutions.

Evidently, the leaked letter of 13th September 2021 currently in circulation was written
more than four months ago and should not be seen as having been written in January
2022; it should also not be construed as constituting an attack on the importance of
the on-going SIM card registration exercise.

It is regrettable that official correspondence between two institutions would be leaked
and used for improper purposes. The NIA condemns such conduct which undermines
public trust and dissipates the energies of public officials who have to address same.

SIGNED
ABUDU ABDUL-GANIYU
AG. HEAD, CORPORATE AFFAIRS

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