After the bus branding fiasco involving Selassie Ibrahim’s Smarttys, one would think that the government of Ghana would stay a million miles away from any deal involving this woman and her company- one would be wrong.
Because in Parliament on Monday, the NDC majority passed a rural electrification deal which involves Smartty’s Limited, and which an independent assessment has found as overpriced by $9m- over the strident complaints of the minority.
The loan facility is a $92m one for a rural electrification project, to be carried out by a Chinese firm, Hunan Construction and Engineering Group. The deal would be a worthy one, if you discount the fact that Smartty’s is the local representative for Hunan, and the overpricing of the deal.
Smartty’s, in the whole bus branding fiasco, was found to have overpriced the deal by Ghs 1.9m. That was the amount to be retrieved, although government somehow reduced it. That shows a track record, and that Ibrahim would be anywhere near another deal with such huge figures, just speaks to a flagrant disregard for the outrage of Ghanaians by government.
Aside Smartty’s involvement, there is the matter of the Crown assessment, which found the loan overpriced; but neither fazed the majority in Parliament.
I think we’ve been sufficiently told that lining the pockets of cronies is more important than transparency and accountability. This is a worthy project- to provide around 556 towns and villages with electricity in the Volta, Eastern and Northern regions- but that it involves a company culpable in the biggest scandal of the past year? NO.
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