Smarttys make final payment of refund for bus branding
The company at the centre of the bus branding scandal, Smarttys Management and Production Limited, has made final payment in respect of the refund of moneys overpaid it for branding and re-spraying of 116 intra-city buses.
It has since paid a balance of GHC548,608.04, representing the final payment of GHC1,548,608.04.
A letter dated March 31, 2016 and addressed to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and the Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) announced the issuance of a cheque for the final payment of the refund.
Lawyers for Smarttys Management and Production Limited, Cromwell Gray Limited accordingly attached a cheque for GHC548,608.04.
“Kindly acknowledge receipt and accept the assurance of our highest consideration in bringing a closure to this matter,” the letter, signed by Mr Kissi Agyebeng noted.
The company has, therefore, met the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice’s directive to it to make the payments on or before March 31, 2016 after an overpayment of GHC1.5 million was established to have been made to it.
An amount of GHC700,000 was paid on February 25, 2016.
That brought the amount to GH¢1 million paid by Smarttys Management and Production Limited out of the figure of GHC1,548,608.04 to be refunded.
The first instalment was made in January 2016.
A letter attached to the cheque paid into the account of the EOCO stated “see attached a cheque (numbered 000014 Guaranty Trust Bank (Ghana)” intended as the settling of the agreed second instalment in the sum of Seven Hundred Thousand cedis (GH¢700,000) drawn on the Clients Account of Cromwell Gray LLP”.
The letter made reference to the Attorney General’s letters of December 29, 2015 and January 7, 2016 on the refunds to be made, and also made reference to modes of payment reached.
The letter of January 7, 2016 by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ms Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, which was addressed to Mr Agyebeng, said a figure of GHC1,548,608.04 had been arrived at as the amount to be refunded by Smarttys Management and Production Limited.
“In consultation with the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance, this amount was arrived at taking into consideration the following factors raised in your letter, revised value added tax position, revised withholding tax position and a set off of GHC27,173.74 withholding tax over deductions,” the letter added.
The letter indicated the acceptance of the request to pay the revised amount in full on or before March 31, 2016.
It said interest on the revised amount would be frozen subject to Smarttys Management and Production Limited making full payment of an amount between GHC300,000 on or before January 29, 2016.
“The remainder is to be paid in two equal instalments on or before 29 February 2016 and March 31, 2016, respectively,” the letter said.
It directed that all payments should be made by cheque in the name of EOCO.
“Please be advised that government reserves the right to take all relevant actions or steps to recover all moneys owed together with interest accrued calculated at the prevailing bank rate from 29th January 2016 to date of final payment if you fail to make payment within the stipulated time,” the letter said.
Last year, investigations into the branding of 116 Metro Mass Transit Buses involving GH¢3.6million revealed that Smarttys over- billed the government to the tune of about GHC1.9million.
The branding of the new Huanghai buses for the MMT with portraits of President John Mahama and past presidents caused public outcry, resulting in the resignation of the Minister of Transport, Ms Dzifa Attivor, in December.
Following the public outcry, the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah, directed the Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah Opong to recover GH¢1.9million from Smarttys.
The Attorney General presented her report on December 22, 2015 directing the refund of money found to have been overpaid to Smarttys in the contract.