Veteran journalist Abdul Kweku Baako Jnr has said government’s delay in making public a report on a controversial bus branding saga will undermine efforts it is making in dealing with corruption.
The Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper said the Chief of Staff’s move to investigate and retrieve GHC1.9 million [revised down to GHC1.5million] will be brought to naught if the report is not made public.
“I support the Chief of Staff’s initiative, but that initiative has been undermined substantially by the inability or failure or refusal to publish the Attorney General’s report especially when there has been persistent calls for the disclosure of the actual content of that report,” he said on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’, Wednesday.
Government has been severely criticized for its decision to spend GH?3.6 million of oil revenue on branding some 116 Metro Mass Transit buses. The expenditure has been described as reckless and profligate.
In the heat of the controversy, the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, commissioned the Attorney General to investigate the matter after which it was found and announced that the payments were excessive. Smarttys was to refund GH?1.5million in three installments.
Until now, the report presented to Mr Debrah has not been made public. Pressure group Occupy Ghana, has threatened to sue the Attorney General after the group was denied information relating to the matter.
Mr Baako questioned why the Attorney General has refused to heed to Occupy Ghana’s call for the report to be made public.
He believes that “in a vibrant democratic environment such as ours, if a civil society group has raised the red flags and requested for information relative to this matter, any serious administration must oblige”.
“This is not a classified document, it is different if it is a classified document with national security consideration, then we can make some little concessions but I don’t see this as one of those things,” he added.
Mr Baako fears that government’s initiative might be seen as one that lacks honesty and integrity if the persistent calls are not generating a positive response.
“The failure to respond is a deficit in terms of our good governance credentials. Things are getting bad because of their refusal and failure to address the issue.
“Make the report public, I don’t see what government will lose in this sense,” he added.