High Court orders full disclosure in $3.6m Smarttys bus-branding scandal

 

High Court orders full disclosure in $3.6m Smarttys bus-branding scandal

An Accra High Court has orderedgovernment to makes full disclosure on a 'scandalous' contract in which 116 buses were re-branded for $3.6million.

Justice Anthony Yeboahs order comes after a group, Citizen Ghana Movement, suedgovernment through the Attorney-General demanding the contract withSmartyysManagement and Productions Company should be made public.

The company is owned by actress and entrepreneur Selassie Ibrahim who is the wife of a former NDC minister.

The group represented in court by Kofi Bentil wanted to know if the contract followed the procedure as outlined in the Public Procurement Act.

It took the vigilance of the Minority leader in Parliament Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu to point out that government had used oil money to brand 116 buses. The government spent at least 31,000 per bus.

But after an unrelenting public outcry, the Attorney-Generals assessment of the deal concluded that Smarttys over-priced government. Her company was asked to refund GH1,548,608.04 by March 2016.

The then Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor resigned over the scandal.

But Citizens Ghana Movement would not let government off without a full disclosure.

Kofi Bentil

Private citizens Kwame Barkers Ansah, Michael Annor, Yaw Baffuor Ankomah, Lolan Ekow Sagoe-Moses, Evans Amegashie, Ms Kathleen Addy and Francis Kennedy Ocloo proceeded to court in December 2015.

Finding confidence in Article 41(f) of the 1992 Constitution, which encourages Ghanaians to protect the public purse and check waste of public funds, the Movement saidgovernment must be held accountable for the controversy surrounding the deal.

The court has upheld our case,a satisfied Kofi Bentil told Joy News Beatrice Adu.

This right to information is constitutionally guaranteed. The right to expression and the right to information are meaningless without the other,he reported the judges ruling.

Government could not hide behind technicalities as it had sought to do to deprive the public of the information concerning the contract, Kofi Bentil explained.

Buoyed by victory, the Citizens Ghana Movement vowed to continue fighting against corruption.

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