Bus branding: Mahama frees officials [REPORT]

A leaked highly confidential government document available to Citi News, suggests that Ghana’s presidency has been rather lenient in its handling of the bus branding scandal, which led to some 1.9 million Ghana cedis loss to the state due to an over-payment.

Pieces of official evidence seen by Citi News show that state officials of both the Transport and Finance Ministries broke a number of national laws in their supervision of the 3.6 million Ghana cedis bus branding contract executed by Smarttys.

The leaked document, which is said to be the Attorney General’s investigative report on the bus branding scandal which forced Dzifa Attivor to resign as Minister for Transport, found plentiful evidence of gross desecration of the 1992 Constitution, the Public Procurement Act and a number of other laws that govern the use of public funds, and recommended that the officials involved be investigated and punished.

For instance, according to the report, after review of the state’s contract with Smarttys, the Attorney General found that the state should not have paid Smarttys more than 1.7 million Ghana cedis for the branding project.

The Attorney General also found that the branding by Smarttys was commenced and concluded long before the procurement process started, a conduct that violated the nation’s procurement laws.

 “…the rebranding by Smarttys was commenced and concluded even before the procurement process began. This fact has been confirmed by both Smarttys and the Ministry of Transport. They attribute this lapse to the urgency attached to rebranding and spraying of the buses,” the report added.

Again, the report also showed that contrary to the provisions of article 88 of the 1992 constitution, the Ministry of Transport did not submit the bus branding contract with Smarttys to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for review prior to execution of the deal.

Also, per the leaked document, the Presidency ought to have directed the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) to investigate all the public officials who handled the contract award as well as the payments made.

Those found culpable are to face the appropriate penalties and sanctions for their respective roles in causing the public purse to lose more than 1.9 million Ghana cedis to Smarttys in a deal that should not have cost the national kitty more than 1.7 million Ghana cedis.

However, contrary to the findings and recommendations of the Attorney General, the office of the President simply released a statement in which it directed Smarttys to refund the excess payments to the state without any talk of referral of the offending state officials to EOCO for investigation and subsequent action.

By: Richard Dela Sky/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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