General News of Thursday, 21 July 2016
Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Professor P.K. Buah-Bassuah has retracted his earlier assertion that the GHc 3.6 million meant for the branding of 116 Metro Mass buses has been refunded.
Earlier at a PIAC public forum in Bolgatanga, he told Citi News that the MMT buses re-branding saga which generated public outcry was paid back into the national kitty.
He has however retracted and explained that he meant the excesses instead.
He exclusively told Citi News that, “actually in my presentation I showed the principal that was 3.6 million for the Metro Mass re-branding however when Members of Parliament realized that there were excesses, the excesses were refunded and I meant the excesses and not the substantial amount.”
“The 3.6 million remains outstanding and so I meant the excesses but I didn’t make myself clear in that interview.”
He later told participants at a public forum in Wa that the refund should be captured in the PIAC’s 2016 annual report on the petroleum revenue management.
Background to the bus branding saga
It will be recalled that a revelation on branding of 116 new Chinese Huanghai buses which cost the country GHc 3.6 million caused public outrage.
A leaked Attorney General’s investigation report implied that the contract with Smarty’s concluded before the procurement process started, an action that violated the nation’s procurement laws.
The public backlash led to the resignation of the then Transport Minister, Dzifa Attivor. The excess payment was detected by a fact finding committee set up by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.
The committee’s report recommended that the excesses should be refunded.
President John Dramani Mahama in a radio interview on one of GBC’s affiliate stations in the Western Region as part of his accounting to the people tour reechoed the refund.
But what is shrouded in secrecy is the Ghana Revenue Authority’s silence on the refund. The mode of payment, how it was paid and if there are receipts covering the payment should be declared by the GRA.