GHS3.6m bus branding deal ‘blatant thievery’

The GHS3.6 million bus branding deal is “blatant thievery”, financial analyst Sydney Casely-Hayford has said.

Speaking on Citi FM’s current affairs and news analysis programme ‘The Big Issue’ on Saturday December 19, 2015, Mr Casely-Hayford wondered why none of the private telecommunication firms, which, in his opinion, would have jumped at an opportunity to brand the 116 buses with their products, were not given the opportunity to do so at their own cost.

He also questioned why the buses needed to have been branded with portraits of former presidents and the current president.

A former chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Albert Kan Dapaah, on Friday also questioned the use of GHS3.6 million in branding the intra-city buses.

The amount involved in the branding has raised suspicions within the public with the Minority in Parliament calling for a probe.

The situation has necessitated the Chief of Staff to issue an ultimatum to the Attorney General to review the contract.

In a letter dated December 17, 2015, Mr Julius Debrah gave the AG a 22nd December, 2015 deadline to assess the controversial contract and provide its report.

Speaking about the controversial branding on Starr FM’s Morning Starr with Nii Arday Clegg on Friday December 18, Mr Kan Dapaah said the Chief of Staff’s intervention has “given me the impression that the Minister must have done it without the approval of cabinet, probably without the approval of the president. That is a very, very serious thing and I think it’s appropriate that the Chief of Staff should get more details and take the necessary actions.”

“Let’s hope that they will take it to the most logical conclusion, investigate it properly and, if need be, apply the necessary sanctions,” the former Afigya Sekyere West MP said.

According to him, “one of the greatest problems we have in our country is the lack of sanctions in the public sector. Everybody knows that in the private sector, if you misbehave, you’ll be sanctioned, but not so in the public sector. People do very serious things and they go away unpunished, which motivates others to also do the same things … there is no way that you can justify what has been done, really, I just don’t see the importance of the branding, I don’t see why we have to spend that huge amount of money to undertake any such activity and let’s hope that we can get to the bottom of it.”

Mr Kan Dapaah defended a similar branding of buses during the Kufuor administration, saying under that dispensation, the government did not spend any state funds in doing the branding unlike the current case under the Mahama administration where GHS3.6 million of funds from the state’s kitty is being used.

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