General News of Saturday, 28 January 2017
The handover notes of Ministries, Metropolitan, Departments and Agencies (MMDAs) will be made public by the Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) for Ghanaians to access them.
This follows the submission of copies of the notes by the Office of the Administrator General of the Presidential Estate Unit (PEU) to PRAAD as required by law.
The Office of the Administrator General of the PEU from January 4, 2017 to January 8, 2017 delivered copies of the notes to the PRAAD, the Council of State, the Chief Justice and Parliament in accordance with Section 7(2)(a) (b).
The relevant sections state that ”of the five other copies, the Administrator General shall retain one copy and one copy shall be sent respectively to Parliament, the Chief Justice, the Council of State and the Public Records and Archives Administration Department.
Checks at the Office of the Administrator General shows that the Chief Justice received her copy on January 4, the Council of State and PRAAD on January 6 and the Parliament on January 8, 2017.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Administrator General, Mr David Yaro, said all handover notes from 24 ministries, 10 coordinating councils, and six other statutory bodies, which are the Local Government Service Secretariat, the Office of the Head of Civil Service, the Inter-ministerial Committee on Decentralisation, the Department of Parks and Gardens and the Ghana Free Zones Board had all been submitted.
He took the opportunity to deny the accusations that he had delayed the submission of the handover notes and that he had returned the notes to the respective ministries for them to be doctored.
Facilitation, not preparation
Mr Yaro clarified the facts and said his office had merely facilitated the handover notes by developing a template and putting together a quality assurance team, which included members of the Public Services Commission (PSC), to verify and validate the reporting template.
He added that by the support of the Deliver Programme, a non-governmental organisation funded by the Department of International Development (DFID), a workshop was organised for heads of MMDAs.
That facilitation had also afforded the opportunity of the office to build a database of government assets such as vehicles and estates as detailed in the Presidential (Transition) Act 2012.
“When that had been done, the office took a backstage for all ministries to complete their reports and deliver them to the presidency,” Mr Yaro said.
“We subsequently reminded the MMDA’s of the responsibility to submit the reports to the Presidency giving them a deadline of October 25, 2016 to do so in a letter we wrote to them on October 19, 2016,” he added.
He said the Office of the Administrator General only came in later when the copies were presented to him by the presidency during the transition for on-ward submission to the transition team.
Mr Yaro said it was, therefore, wrong for some people to conclude that he had delayed the submission of the handover notes, or that he had returned the notes to the ministries for them to be doctored before finalisation.
Notes at PRAAD
Meanwhile, the PRAAD has said that the public can have access to the handover notes “as soon as practicable.”
The Head, Search Unit of PRAAD, Mr Bright Botwe, confirmed the receipt of the notes by the organisation and said that the notes received would have to be “accessioned into PRAAD’s holdings and classified to make them assessable to the public” in accordance with its Act, Act 535.
He explained that “accessioning” meant the taking of legal custody of the notes in accordance with the law and registering them to denote that the organisation had custody of the notes.
Thereafter, he said, the notes would be classified, with codes assigned for easy accessibility for the public who would come to the organisation to read.
The handover notes cover the activities of the respective MMDAs, including the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice- President, agencies under the portfolios of the President and Vice-President.