OccupyGhana to sue over error-ridden brochure

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Pressure group, OccupyGhana, says it will head to court if the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, and the Minister of Communications, Edward Omane Boamah, fail to provide it with names of the companies that bid for the Independence Day error-ridden brochure.

“Considering the urgency surrounding this mater, we respectfully request that you supply the information requested herein within three (3) working days of the date of this letter, failing which you should consider this letter as the written Notice of Intention of Civil Action under section 10 of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), effective as at the date hereof,” a statement from OccupyGhana said in a statement issued on Friday.

The error-ridden brochure was characterised by incomprehensible grammatical expressions, poor spelling and a host of other inaccuracies. It has provoked outrage and condemnation among a section of the public.

Among the many mistakes in the brochure was the representation of Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, as the President of Ghana.

Expressions such as, “The innovated partnership is being concretised in many areas of economic trajectory, particularly trade…”, “…rainbow at the end of the tunnel…”, “…as if by divine-designed…” and “Ghana has attained low-income status in the world…”, have also been described as ambiguous or false by some observers.

According to Occupy Ghana, Ghanaians deserve more information in respect of the matter. It is, therefore, demanded to know:

1. Which company or companies was/were invited to submit bids for the publishing, production and/or printing of the Brochures? May we have copies of any relevant letters or other communication?

2. Were any quotations received from the company or companies, and if so, may we have copies of such quotations and their covering letters, if any?

3. Which public procurement procedure was adopted in selecting the winning bid? If it was single-source procurement was the approval of the Public Procurement Authority (“PPA”) sought? May we have a copy of any letter requesting approval and all attachments to it?

4. Was the PPA’s approval obtained, and if so, may we have a copy of any letter to that effect?

5. Was a contract entered into with the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of the signed contract?

6. Has the Ministry of Finance been requested to release funds for payment to the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of any such letter?

7. Did the Ministry of Finance approve of any payment in writing, and if so, may we have a copy of that written approval?

Below is the full press statement:

11th March, 2016

Attorney-General & Minister of Justice

Attorney-General’s Department and Ministry of Justice

Accra

Minister of Communications

Ministry of Communications

Accra

The Chief of Staff

Office of the President

Flagstaff House

Accra

Dear Madam & Sirs:

RE: PRINTING OF 59TH INDEPENDENCE DAY BROCHURES – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION/NOTICE OF INTENTION OF CIVIL ACTION

OccupyGhana is composed of citizens of Ghana who are interested in ensuring good governance in Ghana, and are committed to the principles of freedom, justice, probity and accountability, as are enshrined in the preamble to Ghana’s Fourth Republican Constitution. As citizens of Ghana, we are also mindful of our constitutional duty under article 41(f) of the Constitution “to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property.”

We have closely followed the matters surrounding the printing of brochures for the 59th Independence Day Celebrations (“the Brochures”), and which have culminated in the relieving from office of Mr. Francis Arthur as the acting Director of the Information Services Department, and the placing of the Flagstaff House Communications Bureau under the authority and supervision of the Ministry of Communication.

As citizens of this country, we are not satisfied that this is the end of the matter. We believe that there is more to this matter than meets the eye, and that there is more information that the people of Ghana deserve to have, with respect to this matter. We are fortified in this belief by Article 21(1)(f) of the Constitution which provides that “[a]ll persons shall have the right to… information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society.” We are not aware of any restrictions and laws essential to democracy that prevent citizens from being informed of all the facts surrounding this matter. We also respectfully assert that there is no conceivable public interest privilege that applies to deny us access to that information. We also have cause to believe that part of the undisclosed circumstances surrounding this matter may amount to corruption, and the misuse and waste of public funds.

On the bases of the foregoing, we write to you to request information from you, based on the following questions:

  1. Which company or companies was/were invited to submit bids for the publishing, production and/or printing of the Brochures? May we have copies of any relevant letters or other communication?
  2. Were any quotations received from the company or companies, and if so, may we have copies of such quotations and their covering letters, if any?
  3. Which public procurement procedure was adopted in selecting the winning bid? If it was single-source procurement was the approval of the Public Procurement Authority (“PPA”) sought? May we have a copy of any letter requesting approval and all attachments to it?
  4. Was the PPA’s approval obtained, and if so, may we have a copy of any letter to that effect?
  5. Was a contract entered into with the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of the signed contract?
  6. Has the Ministry of Finance been requested to release funds for payment to the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of any such letter?
  7. Did the Ministry of Finance approve of any payment in writing, and if so, may we have a copy of that written approval?
  8. Have any payments been made to the company that undertook the transaction, and when? May we have copies of all the usual, relevant documents, including, but not limited to: (i) request for payment by the Ministry, (ii) release letter from the Ministry of Finance, (iii) Controller and Accountant-General’s letter to the Bank of Ghana for payment, (iv) payment advice from Bank of Ghana, and (v) any payment vouchers issued?
  9. Were any taxes paid or withheld, as the case may be, particularly with respect to withholding tax, value added tax and the national health insurance levy, and if so, may we have copies of any relevant invoices?

Considering the urgency surrounding this mater, we respectfully request that you supply the information requested herein within three (3) working days of the date of this letter, failing which you should consider this letter as the written Notice of Intention of Civil Action under section 10 of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), effective as at the date hereof.

Yours in the service of God and Country

OccupyGhana®

cc The Head

Information Services Department

Accra

 

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