Pressure group OccupyGhana says the Attorney General’s (AG’s) refusal to provide detailed information about the circumstances leading to the rebranding of Metro Mass Transit buses shows that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has something to hide from the public.
According to the group, the request to get detailed information on the infamous GH¢3.6 million bus rebranding transaction involving Smarttys Management and Productions Ltd owned by actress Selassie Ibrahim, was turned down by the AG.
Details about the GH¢3.6 million, cost of the re-branding to the taxpayer, set tongues wagging recently and it also led to the resignation of Dzifa Ativor as Minister for Transportation.
A statement issued in Accra by OccupyGhana said members were utterly shocked that the AG would refuse to provide the information regarding the transaction and accused the AG of hiding behind an ‘unknown principle’ to deny them access to information.
“We are saddened by this blatant attempt by none other than the Attorney General of this country to deny citizens the right to know what happened to their money,” the statement posited.
“We are amazed that the Attorney General is hiding behind an ‘unknown principle’ to deny access to information that might reveal that the bus branding job was actually concluded and the figure of roughly GH¢3.6 million communicated to the Ministry of Finance for payment to Smarttys, even before the same Ministry of Transport wrote to Smarttys for a quotation for the job,” they noted.
According to OccupyGhana, the deal was also concluded “even before the same Ministry of Transport applied for approval for single-source procurement from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), proffering what is at best described as dubious, shameful and pathetic grounds for that single-source procurement.”
The group further said it was also saddened that the AG wants to hide from Ghanaians the fact that “the contract document covering a transaction of this magnitude was on just two (2) pages of paper with absolutely no warranties, defects liability period, or events of default clauses to protect the interest of the people of Ghana,”
OccupyGhana insisted that the contract was ‘dubious’ and said it was never submitted to the AG before it was signed and added that it was rather a director at the Ministry of Transport and not the sector minister, that signed it.
“We are amazed that an Attorney General who has discovered and written on all of these grave infractions of our law in her report to the Chief of Staff, would turn around to deny the citizens of this country access to such critical information about our national purse and its use,” it wondered.
Something to Hide
“The vacuous and trifling nature of this excuse fortifies our belief that the government has something to hide, and that all efforts are being made to ensure that the information surrounding this Impugned Transaction, particularly the Attorney General’s own far-reaching report on the matter, is suppressed to protect certain persons who acted in that transaction, from exposure and possible prosecution,” OccupyGhana averred.
The group said once the AG had refused it the information, it would carry out its threat to sue the government to compel it to tell the public details about the deal.
“Ghanaians are entitled to know everything about the Impugned Transaction and the Attorney General cannot engage in illegal and unconstitutional stonewalling, to prevent us from knowing the full truth, and consequently prevent us from demanding that erring persons be punished in accordance with the law,” it concluded.
By William Yaw Owusu