Special Prosecutor Urged To Target Smarttys, GYEEDA Rots
A private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has called on the newly-appointed Special Prosecutor to probe the Smarttys Bus Branding and the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) scandals when he assumes office, pending Parliamentary approval.
Martin Amidu, who was announced as the Special Prosecutor on Friday was a vehement critic of the National Democratic Congress under which these scandals occurred.
Mr. Kpebu has advised Mr. Amidu to start from those cases because “there is an abundance of evidence or sufficient evidence to prosecute.”
“If you were to go to cases that there wasn't evidence, you would go round and round and waste resources. So start with those that are readily available so that you make a good start because you have to put your best foot forward,” he said on The Big Issue.
“Readily, the bus branding saga is one that attracted a lot of public furor and people are still very angry about it. Also the case of GYEEDA… those are good candidates because the public purse was unnecessarily bled,” Mr. Kpebu added.
When approved by Parliament, Mr. Amidu will have the mandate to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged corruption under the Public Procurement Act 203 Act 63, and other corruption-related offenses implicating public officers, political office holders and accomplices.
Bus branding saga
A former Transport Minister, Dzifa Attivor was heavily implicated in the 2015 Smarttys bus branding scandal in which 116 new buses were branded with pictures of former Presidents at the cost of GHc 3.6 million.
A leaked Attorney General's investigation report suggested that the contract with Smarttys concluded before the procurement process started, an action that violated the nation's procurement laws.
The excess payment was detected by a fact-finding committee set up by the then-Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.
The committee's report recommended that Smarttys should refund half of the amount which was an over-payment.
The fallout compelled Dzifa Attivor to resign from her position as Transport Minister.
Dzifa Attivor may have sensed a target on her back as she used a campaign platform, ahead of the 2016 elections, to plead with members of the NDC in the Volta Region not to vote in the New Patriotic Party because she, and her deputy at the time, Fifi Kwetey, were likely to be jailed.
Her comments at the time were condemned as tribalistic.
In the case of the scandal embroiling the GYEEDA, now the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), some companies including Zoomlion Ghana Limited, RLG, Asongtaba Cottage Industry Limited and Better Ghana Management Services Limited, among others, were contracted to render services under various modules for the GYEEDA programme.
Following reports of the siphoning of state funds under GYEEDA, the government, in 2012 ordered an investigation into its activities and subsequently terminated the contracts with the various companies.
The former GYEEDA National Coordinator, Abuga Pele was also hauled before a court to answer for the reported malfeasance under his tenure.
Abuga Pele has since pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment of crime, intentionally misapplying public property, and five counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state in the ongoing trial.