Bus branding scandal: President Mahama says Smartyy’s has made first payment of Gh¢300,000

metro-mass-mahama-busSmartyy’s Productions, has started paying back the GH¢1.5 million excess payment made to it for re-spraying and rebranding of 116 buses.

Speaking to the issue of corruption and what the government is doing to curb the menace in his State of the Nation Address today, February 25, 2016 in Parliament, the President, John Dramani Mahama said the company has made a part payment of GH¢300,000. The government agreed on payment terms that allows the company to refund the excess money in installment.

The Ghana government paid an amount of GH¢3.6 million, approximately $1 million out of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) which is from the country’s oil revenues, for the rebranding of the buses with the photos of current president, John Mahama and former presidents.

But news about the deal caused public outcry compelling the Chief of Staff to instruct the Attorney General to investigate the deal.

President Mahama during a press conference at the presidency January 12, 2016 gave the rationale for spraying and rebranding of the116 buses that caused the country GH¢3.6 million, approximately $1 million.

He said the project involved re-spraying of the buses.

“The buses came in a dark orange colour, and the justification that was given was to differentiate them from the City Express buses that work outside the urban centres, because these were being brought in as urban buses,” he said.

The Attorney General, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong after investigating found that there were no cost comparisons to what was submitted by Smartyy’s Management because of the method of procurement and the procedures used.

The procurement method, the report noted, did not also ensure value for money, adding that independent consultations made by the Attorney General with some leading motor firms in the country confirmed that the contract would have been executed at a cheaper cost if other bids were considered and price comparisons made.

Smartyy’s was therefore asked to refund the excess amount paid to it.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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