Before any government contract is awarded, it is expected to go through procurement processes including the selection of a suitable contractor to execute the project but a leaked highly confidential government document shows that such was not the case in the bus rebranding saga.
The document believed to be the investigative report carried by the Attorney General on the deal revealed that the branding executed by Smarttys was commenced and concluded long before the procurement process started, a conduct that violated the nation’s procurement laws.
“…the rebranding by Smarttys was commenced and concluded even before the procurement process began. This fact has been confirmed by both Smarttys and the Ministry of Transport. They attribute this lapse to the urgency attached to rebranding and spraying of the buses,” the report added.
The report cited by Citi News further suggests that Ghana’s presidency has been rather lenient in its handling of the bus branding scandal, since state officials both the Transport and Finance Ministries broke a number of national laws in their supervision of the 3.6 million Ghana cedis bus branding contract executed by Smarttys.
“An analysis of the documents clearly shows that several public officers were involved in the procurement and payment process. We therefore recommend that all officers who handled any aspect of these processes flouted the laid down legislation should investigated the Economic and Organised Crime Office [EOCO].”
It also added that after review of the state’s contract with Smarttys, the Attorney General found that the state should not have paid Smarttys more than 1.7 million Ghana cedis for the branding project.
“Having regard to the above findings we are of the view that Smarttys charged and was paid more than it should have for the service it provided. This situation would not have arisen if proper procurement processes had been observed and a value for money audit conducted. In our view, judging from the quotes received from the local automobile companies, government should not have paid more than GHc1,700,120.49 for rebranding and spraying of the buses (this sum includes VAT and NHIL),” the report indicated.
Government’s decision to spend GHc3.6 million of Ghana’s oil revenue on re-branding some 116 Metro Mass Transit (MMT) buses has been widely criticized by many Ghanaians.
The scandal compelled the Transport Minister, Dzifa Attivor to resign after a massive public uproar.
The Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah subsequently ordered the Attorney General to investigate the matter after which Smarttys has been ordered to refund the excess payments made.
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