Processes for printing presidential diaries ‘naked robbery’ – Baako charges
Veteran journalist Kweku Baako Jnr has described the process of funding and printing of presidential diaires as “naked robbery”.
He has called for an audit into the process to determine how much was raised and spent after it was revealed, private firms are given presidential letterheads for the fund-raising exercise.
It has been revealed that JIT Magazines and Diary Services was the company permitted to use the presidency to solicit funds to print free diaries, a move criticised of commercialisation of state emblems.
Presidential staff Dr. Clement Apaak who made the revelation on Multi TV/Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday said the process for printing the diaries was in place before the NDC government came to power in 2009.
The Presidency usually prints about 1,500 to 2,000 diaries, Apaak revealed. It is still not known how much was raised to print the diaries or the actual cost of printing the diaries.
Dr. Clement Apaak who says he played a role in the process of determining the choice of the company, revealed any company is free to present a proposal to print the diaires.
JIT Magazines and Diary Services were selected because they presented an attractive improvement on previous copies of the diary, he explained.
Government’s attempt to clarify how the state procures diaries has raised more questions than answers about the ethical use of state symbols.
Government officials, Deputy Communications Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu, presidential staffers Stan Dogbe and Dr. Clement Apaak came out to explain that the state does not “spend a dime, a cent or even a pesewa producing” the diaries.
Government was responding to claims by the 2016 flagbearer Nana Addo who during a party conference in Holland made reference to a media report that $10million was spent by the state on the diaries.
Nana Addo attempted to use this claim as an example of misplaced spending priorities of the ruling NDC government.
But government communication was quick to tear into the presidential candidate for making this claim without evidence.
Addressing the ensuing controversy, Veteran journalist Kweku Baako Jnr has backed calls for the 2016 NPP Presidential candidate to apologise if he has no evidence to support his claim.
“He has to be asked. If he has the answer he must provide it. if he doesn’t have he has to explain himself. If it means a retraction and an apology, he renders it.”
But Kweku Baako says government’s clarification that the diaries are printed by private companies at no cost to the state, leaves more questions than answers.
The Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper said it is “mind-boggling” for the Presidency to bless the practice even if it was also done by previous governments.
According to Kweku Baako Jnr, the monies raised by private companies thorugh the use of the presidency are “technically public funds”.
“How much was raised? You don’t know? You don’t care?….so if they raised 20million and applied 10 million and used the other 10million for their own activities that’s agreed by government?” he charged.
Kweku Baako Jnr also questioned the process used to select the eventual printing company.
“How did those companies get to know that they needed to make proposals? Was there a notice requiring this? If the notice was done ,when ,where how?”
According to Kweku Baako, the presidentially sanctioned process of printing diares reveals the Presidency is “so mediocre and inept”