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Brochure fiasco: OccupyGhana threatens court action

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, says it will head to court if government fails to make public the firm that printed the error-ridden Independence Day brochure.

Apart from the identity of company or companies that printed the brochure that exposed the country to international ridicule, the pressure group is also demanding a raft of other information from government.

They include:

Which public procurement procedure was adopted in selecting the winning bid? If it was single-source procurement was the approval of the Public Procurement Authority (“PPA”) sought? May we have a copy of any letter requesting approval and all attachments to it?

Was the PPA’s approval obtained, and if so, may we have a copy of any letter to that effect?

Was a contract entered into with the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of the signed contract?

Has the Ministry of Finance been requested to release funds for payment to the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of any such letter?

“Considering the urgency surrounding this mater, we respectfully request that you supply the information requested herein within three (3) working days of the date of this letter, failing which you should consider this letter as the written Notice of Intention of Civil Action under section 10 of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), effective as at the date hereof,” the group said.

The grave errors in the 30-page document that was distributed to dignitaries during this year’s Independence Day anniversary has caused many critics – both home and abroad – to pick apart government on many media platforms, especially on social media.

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, one of two African Presidents invited to the March 6 anniversary, was designated as the President of Ghana in the error-ridden brochure.

Acting Director of the Information Services Department, Francis Kwarteng Arthur, has since been fired after coming out to take responsibility for the errors in the brochure.

OccuppyGhana says despite the relieving from office of Mr Arthur, there is more to the matter.

“We believe that there is more to this matter than meets the eye, and that there is more information that the people of Ghana deserve to have, with respect to this matter,” said a letter addressed to Attorney-General and the Communications Ministry.

Read below details of OccupayGhana’s letter to government threatening civil action in three days if it fails to respond to the questions adequately

RE: PRINTING OF 59TH INDEPENDENCE DAY BROCHURES – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION/NOTICE OF INTENTION OF CIVIL ACTION

OccupyGhana is composed of citizens of Ghana who are interested in ensuring good governance in Ghana, and are committed to the principles of freedom, justice, probity and accountability, as are enshrined in the preamble to Ghana’s Fourth Republican Constitution. As citizens of Ghana, we are also mindful of our constitutional duty under article 41(f) of the Constitution “to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property.”

We have closely followed the matters surrounding the printing of brochures for the 59th Independence Day Celebrations (“the Brochures”), and which have culminated in the relieving from office of Mr. Francis Arthur as the acting Director of the Information Services Department, and the placing of the Flagstaff House Communications Bureau under the authority and supervision of the Ministry of Communication.

As citizens of this country, we are not satisfied that this is the end of the matter. We believe that there is more to this matter than meets the eye, and that there is more information that the people of Ghana deserve to have, with respect to this matter. We are fortified in this belief by Article 21(1)(f) of the Constitution which provides that “[a]ll persons shall have the right to… information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society.”

We are not aware of any restrictions and laws essential to democracy that prevent citizens from being informed of all the facts surrounding this matter. We also respectfully assert that there is no conceivable public interest privilege that applies to deny us access to that information. We also have cause to believe that part of the undisclosed circumstances surrounding this matter may amount to corruption, and the misuse and waste of public funds.

On the bases of the foregoing, we write to you to request information from you, based on the following questions:

1. Which company or companies was/were invited to submit bids for the publishing, production and/or printing of the Brochures? May we have copies of any relevant letters or other communication?

2. Were any quotations received from the company or companies, and if so, may we have copies of such quotations and their covering letters, if any?

3. Which public procurement procedure was adopted in selecting the winning bid? If it was single-source procurement was the approval of the Public Procurement Authority (“PPA”) sought? May we have a copy of any letter requesting approval and all attachments to it?

4. Was the PPA’s approval obtained, and if so, may we have a copy of any letter to that effect?

5. Was a contract entered into with the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of the signed contract?

6. Has the Ministry of Finance been requested to release funds for payment to the company with the winning bid, and if so, may we have a copy of any such letter?

7. Did the Ministry of Finance approve of any payment in writing, and if so, may we have a copy of that written approval?

8. Have any payments been made to the company that undertook the transaction, and when? May we have copies of all the usual, relevant documents, including, but not limited to: (i) request for payment by the Ministry, (ii) release letter from the Ministry of Finance, (iii) Controller and Accountant-General’s letter to the Bank of Ghana for payment, (iv) payment advice from Bank of Ghana, and (v) any payment vouchers issued?

9. Were any taxes paid or withheld, as the case may be, particularly with respect to withholding tax, value added tax and the national health insurance levy, and if so, may we have copies of any relevant invoices?

Considering the urgency surrounding this mater, we respectfully request that you supply the information requested herein within three (3) working days of the date of this letter, failing which you should consider this letter as the written Notice of Intention of Civil Action under section 10 of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), effective as at the date hereof.

Yours in the service of God and Country
OccupyGhana®

cc The Head

Information Services Department

Accra

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