General News of Friday, 25 December 2015
The embattled CEO of Smarrty’s Management Limited – the private firm that is currently embroiled in a GHS3.6 million bus branding scandal – is fronting for a Chinese firm to clench a $98 million contract from the Government of Ghana, Minority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei-mensa-Bonsu, has alleged.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu told Accra 100.5fm in an interview on Thursday December 24 that any company or firm associated with Mrs Selassie Ibrahim must not be considered for that contract as well as any other contract, until she has been investigated for the GHS3.6 million bus branding scandal.
Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, has ordered Smarrtys, to refund GHS1.9 million of the payment to the state.
The refund directive followed a review of the contract by the Attorney General, on the orders of Mr Debrah, after the Minority in Parliament, led by Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, raised red flags about the cost for the embossment of the portraits of three former presidents of the fourth republic, as well as that of the current President, on 116 intra-city Metro Mass Transit buses which are meant for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) purposes.
Minister of Transport, Dzifa Attivor, voluntarily resigned over the scandal.
Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu believes it will be inappropriate for the state to ink the $98 million contract with the Chinese firm because of Mrs Ibrahim’s involvement. The Suame MP also wants a freeze on all contracts existing between the Government of Ghana and Smarrty’s until investigations into the bus branding scandal are over and done with.
“Why let out sheep to pasture when the earlier flock has still not returned from grazing?” he asked.
The MP also wondered if the order to Smarrtys to refund the GHS 1.9 million would be the end of the matter.
“So, as she has been asked to refund the money, would Selassie be prosecuted or she walks free once she settles that amount?” wondered the Minority Leader.
“We must ensure that she is prosecuted because she obtained the payment by wrongful means.
“Also, we are told that the money paid to Smarrtys came from our oil revenue. So, who withdrew money from the national coffers for Selassie? That person must also face the music,” Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu added.
As far as the bus branding scandal is concerned, the opposition legislator revealed that he put a question to the Transport Minister, during her appearance before Parliament, about the rebranding of buses, but Mrs Attivor “feigned ignorance” about the matter and only said she would return to furnish the House with more information once she had apprised herself of the facts.
Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu, thus, asked: “So, who did it in her name? And if she had knowledge about it and lied to Parliament, then she could be cited for perjury before Parliament even after her resignation.”