Mahama-styled “Bus-Branding” Scandal Rocks Transport Ministry -Over US$ 5 million disappears into thin air

A former security coordinator of the Metro Mass Transit Company (MMT), Lawal Fuseini has confirmed the raging scandal that the Ministry Transport had inflated the prices of about 50 buses purchased from China by over US$ 5 million. The former MMT security coordinator has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over suspected corruption in the procurement of the buses. Documents available to Whatsup News shows that on November 6, 2017, the Minister of Transport Kweku Ofori-Asiama signed a contract with Gh-Daewoo Motors Limited for the supply of a total of 50 40-seater Daewoo buses to the MMT at the unit price of US$ 175,000. However, upon checks, the buses with model number GL6127HK and GL6121HK cost just about US$ 75,000 a unit. This means that a staggering US$ 100,000 has been inflated on each bus to bring the total cost to taxpayers at US$ 8.75 million instead of US$ 3.75 million. Speaking to online news portal YEN.com.gh Fuseini said, the Chinese Company selling the buses had initially pegged the price of each bus at $75,000, “but when we took the contract document, we realized that the amount was even 100% more than was quoted to be the cost of the buses.” In the documents co-signed by the Transport Minister and the CEO of GH-Daewoo Ghana Limited, whose name Isaac Ofori-Poku rings eerily similar to the minister, the MMT would be buying the Chines-made buses at US$ 175,000 each despite brand-new price quotation of those same buses range between US$ 70,000 and US$ 80,000 on official online marketing portals. These Chines-made buses being ordered for the MMT cost as much and even higher than premium coaches of similar class from Mercedes Benz. Excerpts of minutes signed by the Chief Director of the Transport Ministry T.A Selby showed that GH-Daewoo had initially tendered in a bid even higher than US$ 8.75 million for the 50 buses but was forced to lower their offer when it turned out that it exceeded the ceiling that the Finance Ministry would be willing to finance.“The meeting was informed that the Ministry of Finance granted an Establishment Warrant amounting to US$8,750,000.00 for the purchase of the buses. The total tender price of US$ 8, 795,000.00 is above what has been approved and therefore the need for the tender price to be adjusted to come within the budget,” the Minutes of the meeting held late 2017 stated. It went on to explain how Gh-Daewoo had agreed to drop its tender price to exactly what the Finance Ministry was willing to allocate in what critics question as odd. “To this end, GH-Daewoo Motors Limited agreed to reduce the tender price by US$ 45,000.00. The meeting accepted the offer and requested the Company to write to the Ministry about the new offer,” reads the minute. On December 6, 2017, the Minister of Transport wrote to GH-Daewoo on a letter with reference number QR 160/288/01, accepting their offer. This scandal was first exposed by online news analysis portal “With All Due Respect” hosted by the controversial Kevin Ekow Taylor. The transport ministry has yet to officially issue a response to the alleged scandal in what is reminiscent of a similar incident during the erstwhile administration of President John Dramani Mahama where his Transport Minister blew a whopping GHC 3.6 million to brand 116 MMT buses in 2015.

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