The Ghana @50 Secretariat is struggling to shed off its bad image. The latest is a fresh $12.9 million that was spent on the publication of souvenir Ghana @50 books to commemorate the Golden Jubilee celebration of Ghana as a nation-state.
Majority of the books are locked up at the Information Services Department offices in Accra and other similar offices in the country, with the amount realized so far, way below the amount spent on the production of the books.
The latest revelation comes in the wake of many other reported dubious deals embarked on by the Secretariat. Officials of the Secretariat had earlier confirmed to the Government Transition Team that although huge sums of dollars were spent on the provision of toilet facilities throughout the country, as part of the celebration, only one of the facilities was completed in the Volta Region.
It turned out that some of the facilities are being used by street hawkers and porters as sleeping places. The process and modalities for the distribution of vehicles imported in connection with the occasion are still shrouded in secrecy. The 139 vehicles that were imported for the celebration are believed to have been distributed among functionaries of the former administration.
That has resulted in wanton search for the vehicles by the security detail, some of which had led to embarrassing seizure of private cars of some former government functionaries, including Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the NPP in the 2008 elections.
Investigations revealed that out of the $12.9 million spent on the production of the Golden Jubilee Souvenir books, only $378, 000 has so far been realized. This is because the souvenir books did not arrive at the expected period and only came after the Golden Jubilee celebration.
Patrons have being complaining about the cover price for both the hard and soft covers. The cover price for the hard cover is N¢15, while the soft cover price is N¢7. The books contain the rich cultural heritage of the country, the country's political history, the importance of the geographical location of the country and the various ecological systems that run through the country.
At the moment, the rest of the books are mainly locked up at a condemned office of the Greater Accra Information Service Department where some 2, 181 boxes of the books are locked up.
Officials of the Information Service could not offer any explanation why the books were locked at that particular office, but one of the officials said he remembered that the books were brought in July of 2007 with no directive as to what ought to be done with the books.
Some 32, 965 units of hard-cover books and 81, 332 of the soft cover component have been stored at the Ministry of Information and the Information Service Training Centre, at the French Embassy area in Accra.
An official of the Secretariat who spoke on anonymity was surprised at the turn of event, claiming that he and his superiors did not know anything about the latest expose.
According to the source, the Secretariat closed its mind on the books because the impression was offered by those who were in charge of the books that the books were given to the Information Ministry and the Information Services Department for sale.
With the current development, the source said it would advise government to reduce the cover price for all two components to encourage patronage by school children, students and tourists.