General News of Thursday, 24 December 2015
The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has called for the removal of the photos of President John Dramani Mahama from the 116 Metro Mass Transit (MMT) buses which were branded at a cost of Gh¢3.6million.
According to GII, putting the photos of President Mahama on the buses especially as Ghana enters an election year in 2016 amounts to abuse of incumbency since it will give him an advantage to market himself to the detriment of the other presidential candidates.
The Executive Director of the GII, Mr Vitus Azeem who made the call said the photos of the former presidents could however be maintained.
Last week it emerged in Parliament that a total of Gh¢3.6million had been used to brand new buses purchased for the MMT to help with public transport in cities. Photos of former presidents, Rawlings, Kufuor and Atta Mills in black and white colours had been embossed alongside a larger and colour photo of President Mahama.
Following criticisms from the public, the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah asked the Attorney General to look into the contract of branding which was given to Messrs Smartty’s Management Limited and review it.
On the eve of the submission of the AG’s report, the Transport Minister, Mrs Dzifa Attivor tendered in her resignation accepting responsibility for the over-priced contract.
The Chief of Staff Thursday asked the AG to recover Gh¢1.9million from Smartty’s.
Commenting on the developments, Mr Azeem said that the Minister’s acceptance of responsibility and resignation was the right thing to do. However, he said all those involved in the act must be sanctioned.
According to Mr Azeem, though the Minister had resigned, further investigations were needed to know who were responsible for the whole initiative.
“Did they go through the procurement process as required by the Procurement Act, and if they broke the procurement rules, who were responsible for breaking the procurement rules. What sanctions should be applied to those who broke the procurement rules,” he asked.
He said there might be some calculations made by the people involved in the branding of the MMT buses and they should be ready to refund the rest of the money.
Mr Azeem pointed out that the Minister might not be directly involved in the whole initiative and for that reason the people involved in the initiative should be made to face the law.