A-G presents bus branding documents to OccupyGhana

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, says it has received from the Attorney-General (AG) documents relating to the bus branding saga.

The group said in a statement issued yesterday that it received 22 documents covering the Smarttys Transaction in which 116 buses belonging to Metro Mass Transit Limited were branded, except the report on the investigations ordered by the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah.

The group had in a letter dated February 1, 2016 requested the release of the document from the A-G but in a response two days later, the A-G declined to furnish the group with the documents on the ground that there was a pending legal action with respect to the same matter. 

Not satisfied with that response, OccupyGhana, in a press statement on February 7, 2016, announced its intention to seek legal redress against the A-G.

On February 18, 2016, OccupyGhana commenced legal action against the A-G, citing Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution as its backbone to make a case for its right to information.
A court ruling

However, on April 12, 2016, the Accra High Court ordered the Ministry of Transport to make full disclosure of the contract for the rebranding of the 116 buses procured for the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) Limited.

Seven individuals acting in the name of a pressure group, the Citizen Ghana Movement, had prayed the court to direct the Minister of Transport to furnish them with copies of the contract for the branding of the buses and copies of all documents relating to the contract.

The court ruled that the case was within the reach of its jurisdiction so long as public funds were used in the transaction, adding that the public had the right to access all information in that regard.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Anthony Yeboah, however, added a caveat that information that bordered on national security could not be accessed and that if the information to be accessed involved cost, it had to be borne by the persons seeking such information.

Received 
The statement said while the group waited for action before the court to be heard, it received word from the A-G that she would make the documents available to it.

“True to her word, by an affidavit dated April 26, 2016, filed on April 28, 2016 and sworn to by one Lawrence Kumi, Director of Research at the Ministry of Transport, the Honourable Attorney-General has delivered to us documents relating to the transaction, except one.”

“The attorney-general refuses to give to us the report that she delivered to the Chief of Staff after her investigations on the grounds that she considered that as confidential and privileged,” it said.   

“We will keep Ghanaians appraised and updated with the findings of our legal and audit teams, and as we have promised, should we find that any laws were broken or anything was done that was illegal, wrong or untoward, OccupyGhana will pursue the matter to its logical and legal conclusions,” it said.

Background
The use of GH¢3.6 million of oil funds for the rebranding of MMT buses generated controversy in Parliament on Tuesday, December 16, 2015, with the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, questioning the move by the government.

The rebranding of the buses, which involved the embossment of the pictures of President John Dramani Mahama and former civilian heads of state and government of Ghana and the painting of the buses in the national colours, according to the 2015 annual report on Petroleum Funds, cost GH¢31,000 each.

Attivor’s resignation

Following the controversy, the Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, resigned.
In a statement, she said she had already communicated the decision to President Mahama through the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah.

“Mrs Attivor wishes to inform the good people of Ghana that as the minister with oversight responsibility for the activities of the MMT, she has tendered in her resignation as minister due to the current issues surrounding the branding of 116 buses,” it said.
Probe


In an effort by the government to get to the bottom of the matter, Mr Debrah directed the A-G and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong to probe the spraying and branding of the buses.

A letter to that effect was despatched to the A-G on December 17, 2015. The A-G was asked to report back to the Chief of Staff by December 22.

After the probe, Mrs Appiah-Opong submitted a report to Mr Debrah on Tuesday, December 23, 2015.

It recommended that Smarttys, the company that was awarded the rebranding contract, should refund GH¢1.9 million.
Pressure group, OccupyGhana, says it has received from the Attorney-General (AG) documents relating to the bus branding saga.
The group said in a statement issued yesterday that it received 22 documents covering the Smarttys Transaction in which 116 buses belonging to Metro Mass Transit Limited were branded, except the report on the investigations ordered by the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah.
The group had in a letter dated February 1, 2016 requested the release of the document from the A-G but in a response two days later, the A-G declined to furnish the group with the documents on the ground that there was a pending legal action with respect to the same matter.
Not satisfied with that response, OccupyGhana, in a press statement on February 7, 2016, announced its intention to seek legal redress against the A-G.
On February 18, 2016, OccupyGhana commenced legal action against the A-G, citing Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution as its backbone to make a case for its right to information.
A court ruling
However, on April 12, 2016, the Accra High Court ordered the Ministry of Transport to make full disclosure of the contract for the rebranding of the 116 buses procured for the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) Limited.
Seven individuals acting in the name of a pressure group, the Citizen Ghana Movement, had prayed the court to direct the Minister of Transport to furnish them with copies of the contract for the branding of the buses and copies of all documents relating to the contract.
The court ruled that the case was within the reach of its jurisdiction so long as public funds were used in the transaction, adding that the public had the right to access all information in that regard.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice Anthony Yeboah, however, added a caveat that information that bordered on national security could not be accessed and that if the information to be accessed involved cost, it had to be borne by the persons seeking such information.
Received
The statement said while the group waited for action before the court to be heard, it received word from the A-G that she would make the documents available to it.
“True to her word, by an affidavit dated April 26, 2016, filed on April 28, 2016 and sworn to by one Lawrence Kumi, Director of Research at the Ministry of Transport, the Honourable Attorney-General has delivered to us documents relating to the transaction, except one.”
“The attorney-general refuses to give to us the report that she delivered to the Chief of Staff after her investigations on the grounds that she considered that as confidential and privileged,” it said.  
“We will keep Ghanaians appraised and updated with the findings of our legal and audit teams, and as we have promised, should we find that any laws were broken or anything was done that was illegal, wrong or untoward, OccupyGhana will pursue the matter to its logical and legal conclusions,” it said.
Background
The use of GH¢3.6 million of oil funds for the rebranding of MMT buses generated controversy in Parliament on Tuesday, December 16, 2015, with the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, questioning the move by the government.
The rebranding of the buses, which involved the embossment of the pictures of President John Dramani Mahama and former civilian heads of state and government of Ghana and the painting of the buses in the national colours, according to the 2015 annual report on Petroleum Funds, cost GH¢31,000 each.
Attivor’s resignation
Following the controversy, the Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, resigned.
In a statement, she said she had already communicated the decision to President Mahama through the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah.
“Mrs Attivor wishes to inform the good people of Ghana that as the minister with oversight responsibility for the activities of the MMT, she has tendered in her resignation as minister due to the current issues surrounding the branding of 116 buses,” it said.
Probe
In an effort by the government to get to the bottom of the matter, Mr Debrah directed the A-G and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong to probe the spraying and branding of the buses.
A letter to that effect was despatched to the A-G on December 17, 2015. The A-G was asked to report back to the Chief of Staff by December 22.
After the probe, Mrs Appiah-Opong submitted a report to Mr Debrah on Tuesday, December 23, 2015.
It recommended that Smarttys, the company that was awarded the rebranding contract, should refund GH¢1.9 million.
- See more at: http://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/63542-a-g-presents-bus-branding-documents-to-occupyghana.html#sthash.9p2fX10q.dpuf

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