General News of Saturday, 19 December 2015
Source: Daily Guide
The Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, has given the Attorney General up to Tuesday, December 22, 2015 to probe and submit a report on the circumstances under which Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor contracted a company to put stickers on 116 buses at a cost of GHC31,000 each, summing up to GHC3.6 million.
the amount of GHC3,649, 000 to rebrand 116 buses was taken from Ghana’s petroleum revenue as captured in the 2015 report of the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) which monitors the use of the oil revenue.
The foul-smelling contract has raised eyebrows and sparked a growing public uproar across the country, fuelled by a disclosure by Crystal Concept, the company which did the actual rebranding of the entire 116 buses, that it was paid a paltry total amount of GHC11,600 for the entire job and not GHC3.6 million.
the disclosure had fuelled speculations that the Ministry of transport, and government for that matter, might have deliberately inflated the cost of contract or failed to do proper cost evaluation before awarding the contract.
In recent times, there have been allegations that government contracts have been inflated, causing heavy losses to the state.
Chief of Staff Julius Debrah, in a letter dated December 17, 2015 and addressed to the Attorney-General, Marietta Brew Appiah-oppong, demanded a probe into the deal and gave December 22, 2015 as the ultimatum for findings on the probe to be submitted to government.
the letter asked the AG to “review the contract and the associated payments and revert without fail with your findings to my office by close of day of 22nd December 2015.”
Meanwhile, Kwaku Mensah Abeiku, Manager of Crystal Concept, the company subcontracted by Smarttys Management and Productions to do the actual rebranding of the busses, has stated that his company charged GHC11,600 as total cost for the rebranding of all the 116 buses and not GHC3.6 million, exposing government’s dubious deeds.
According to Abeiku, he charged GHC100 per bus, summing up to GH¢11,600, accusing Selassie Ibrahim, CEO of Smarttys Management and Productions, of ripping off the state.
Invoice the detailed pro-forma invoice of the controversial GHC3.6 million branding contract was believed to have been submitted to Minister of transport, Dzifa Attivor, by Smartty’s Management and Productions, a company owned by the NDC celebrity, Selassie Ibrahim.
The figure in the proforma invoice submitted by Smartty’s Management and Productions, the company reportedly owned by the renowned actress Selassie Ibrahim (wife of Ibrahim Adams, former NDC Minister of Agriculture who was jailed for the Quality Grain scandal), represents the cost of the 116 branded MMt buses, which was presented to MPs on the floor of Parliament recently.
Dated July 17, 2015, the invoice, believed to have been signed by the Accounts officer of the company, details how the grand total of the controversial amount was arrived at.
On the pro-forma invoice sighted by DAILY GUIDE, the material cost for spraying each of the buses was pegged at GHC14,210.00, with the paint colours being red, yellow and green.
Labour cost for spraying each of the buses was calculated at GHC3,000; cost of SAV coating, GHC1,210.00; labour cost for putting stickers on each of the 116 buses being GHC2,000.00, among others, with the total cost incurred on each of the buses being GHC30,420.00.
A document presented to Parliament detailing some government expenditure however stated that it cost GHC31,000 to brand each of the 116 buses using the Petroleum Fund.
There has been a huge public outrage about the colossal sum used by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in branding the vehicles for state-owned firm that is reportedly making losses due to mismanagement.
Interestingly, the Minister of transport, Dzifa Attivor, whose ministry is responsible for the deal, has justified the payment of GH¢3.6 million to the NDC activist Selassie Ibrahim for the branding of the 116 buses, reportedly saying that artistic work was generally expensive.
But Mr Mensah Abeiku insisted that ideally, the branding of the buses should not have cost the state such a huge amount, arguing that the price he quoted for Smarttys Management and Productions for branding the buses was the standard market price.
He explained that they (Crystal Concept) charged only GH? 100 for the labour cost for stickers on each bus and not GHC2,000 as indicated on the Pro-Forma Invoice by Smarttys Management and Production, raising questions as to who pocketed the rest of the GH¢1,900 from the GH¢2,000 per bus.
He said, “I was shocked when I heard (about) the price so I feel we have been cheated. the prices on the Pro-Forma Invoice are outrageous.” He said his team agreed on the GHC100 fee per bus due to the fact that the job was for the state and “besides we will feel proud that we were the people who branded the government buses.”
However, he was utterly shocked when he started receiving calls from family and friends that he had been paid a huge amount for branding the MMt buses.
“People started calling me to demand their share of the money I charged for branding the buses and when I asked, I was told the company quoted this much as the price we charged for the work. I was indeed utterly shocked because it is not true…,” he told Adom Fm. Mr Mensah Abeiku expressed shock that Selassie Ibrahim and her company could inflate the cost at that high level with the belief that government’s money was meant for everyone to ‘chop’.