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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Columnist: Ace Anan Ankomah

Smarttys sweetheart deal - PPA's 'thoroughness' under scrutiny

As OG reviews the Smarttys documents, the role of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) is becoming even more disturbing than we first thought.

As we have noted in our previous updates, the PPA took only 24 hours to approve of both the proposal by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to give the impugned contract to Smarttys on sole-source basis and the inflated contract sum in excess of GH3.6m

It is, therefore, important to ask the PPA, on what basis it granted approval, first of the impugned contract to Smarttys, and then of the inflated contract sum.

We are firmly of the view the least degree of due diligence, such as inspecting the buses, would have revealed to the PPA that the buses had already been branded before the MOT wrote to the PPA for approval.

We are also firmly of the view that if the PPA had done the least market survey for bus branding, it would have discovered, as the Attorney-General properly discovered, that the contract sum had been inflated.

If the PPA did not do any of these, then the PPA was criminally negligent. If the PPA did these, and still approved of both the impugned transaction and the inflated contract sum, then the PPA has been simply criminal.

It is in the face of these that the language of the PPA, in granting approval to this impugned transaction and inflated contract sum comes under our scrutiny.

In its 24-hour turnaround approval letter dated 29th July 2015, the PPA, speaking by its Chief Executive, gave approval to both the impugned transaction and the inflated contract sum, claiming that it was giving the approval after engaging in a "THOROUGH CONSIDERATION" of the matter.

We understand that a thing is thorough if it is complete with regard to every detail; not superficial or partial, but performed or done with great care and completeness. A person is thorough who takes pains to do something carefully and completely.

Fellow Ghanaians, we are saddled with this impugned transaction and inflated contract sum, after the PPA had done a self-acclaimed "THOROUGH" job, on our behalf. We are seeing the results of how "THOROUGH" the PPA is and has been. It appears to us that our PPA THOROUGHLY approved of both the impugned contract and the inflated contract sum.