It is quite unbelievable that the transport minister, applied for resignation over the 116 MMT bus branding saga, even before the issue is properly investigated. Madam Dzifa Attivor announced her resignation yesterday [Wednesday] over the purported Ghc3.6 million spent on branding buses by the president.
The decision of the government to spend an outrageous GHC3.6m just for branding 116 Metro Mass Transit buses has caused a great stir and annoyance among majority of Ghanaians. The Chief of Staff Julius Debrah had earlier in a statement following the massive public outcry against the significant amount that was used for the re-branding, ordered the AG to probe the matter and furnish his office with her findings.
Madam Dzifa’s resignation comes barely a day after a report was presented to the Chief of Staff; Mr. Julius Debrah, following an investigation he demanded into the controversial contract. Details of the investigative report have not been made public yet. It is thus unclear why the Minister has chosen the path of resignation even before the report is made public.
A statement signed by the Minister’s Assistant, Egypt Kobla Kudoto, confirmed Dzifa Attivor’s resignation Wednesday.
Hon. Mrs. Dzifa Attivor, Minister of Transport wishes to inform the good people of Ghana that , as the Minister with oversight responsibility for the activities of the Metro Mass Transit (MMT), she has tendered in her resignation as Minister due to the current issues surrounding the branding of the 116 buses”.
She further wants to take the opportunity to thank her party for the opportunity offered her to serve, first as a Deputy Minister of Transport under the late John Evans Atta Mills, and later as the Substantive Minister.
Mrs. Attivor also wishes to thank the President sincerely for the honour to serve in his government. She has already communicated this decision to His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama through the Chief of Staff, Mr. Julius Debrah” the statement concluded.
However, there are suggestions Madam Attivor may have been forced to resign since information available to Citifmonline.com indicates that the Minister was not marked out for punishment although there were suggestions she was negligent. Citifmonline.com is also informed that some persons may be prosecuted for the wasteful spending as recommended in the report.
A detailed pro-forma invoice for the re-branding of the buses has revealed that stickers on each bus cost Ghc11, 000. Also, the pro-forma invoice dated 17th July 2015, and signed by the Accounts Officer of Smarttys Management and Productions and copied to the Ministry of Transport; put the total cost of branding for each bus at Ghc30, 420.00.
Smarttys Productions, the company which won the contract to rebrand the buses is yet to officially comment on the matter but industry experts say the amount charged by the company, owned by Selassie Ibrahim, an actress cum entrepreneur and TV personality, who is also a known activist of the ruling party, is outrageous as compared to the charges placed by the industry on such services.
Ghanaians have pointed accusing fingers at the government, pointing out that instead of on such an unfruitful and wasteful project of painting the images of Ghana presidents on metro buses, the spaces should have been used for commercial advertisements, which would even yield millions of revenue to the government.
Meanwhile, President John Dramani accepted the resignation of Dzifa Attivor as Transport Minister without much ado. A two-paragraph statement from the Flagstaff House Wednesday evening confirmed this:
President John Mahama has accepted the resignation of Mrs. Dzifa Aku Attivor as Minister for Transport. Her resignation follows concerns raised over a contract to spray and brand 116 new buses procured by government to improve transportation in the country’s major cities” the statement ended.