Following the directive by the Chief of Staff to the Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice to recover excess payment for the rebranding of 116 new buses for the Ministry of Transport, lawyers for Smarttys Management and Productions Limited have reached an agreement with the A-G to refund the excess payment by the end of March this year.
A payment schedule submitted by lawyers for Smarttys confirmed that the payments would be made in three instalments, with the first instalment to be paid by the end of January.
The A-G has, meanwhile, confirmed that the amount to be refunded has been reviewed from GH¢1.9 million to GH¢1,548,608.04.
This is because of the revised VAT position, revised withholding tax position and a set-off of GH¢27,173.74, being over deduction of withholding tax on the original payment.
The use of GH¢3.6 million of oil funds for the rebranding of Metro Mass Transit (MMT) buses generated controversy in Parliament on Tuesday, December 16, 2015, with the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, questioning the move by the government.
The rebranding of the buses, which involved the embossment of the pictures of President John Dramani Mahama and former civilian heads of state and government of Ghana and the painting of the buses in national colours, according to the 2015 annual report on Petroleum Funds, cost GH¢31,000 each.
Following the controversy, the Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, resigned.
In a statement, Mrs Attivor said she had already communicated the decision to President Mahama through the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah.
“Mrs Attivor wishes to inform the good people of Ghana that as the minister with oversight responsibility for the activities of the MMT, she has tendered in her resignation as minister due to the current issues surrounding the branding of 116 buses,” it said.
It said she used the opportunity to thank her party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), for the opportunity offered her to serve, first as Deputy Minister of Transport under the late President J.E.A. Mills, and later as the substantive minister.
According to the statement, she thanked President Mahama sincerely for the honour done her to serve in his government.
In an effort by the government to get to the bottom of the matter, Mr Debrah directed the A-G and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, to probe the spraying and branding of the buses.
A letter to that effect was dispatched to the A-G on December 17, 2015. The A-G was asked to report back to the Chief of Staff by December 22.
After the probe, Mrs Appiah-Opong submitted a report to Mr Debrah on Tuesday, December 23, 2015.
The submission of the report was in line with a directive he gave the A-G as part of the probe.