Member of Parliament for Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, has expressed displeasure at the use of railway funds to rebrand 116 public transport buses by the government last year.
The Metro Mass Transit buses were controversially rebranded by Smarttys at the cost of GHC3.6 million. The amount was taken from monies, which had been allocated to the Ghana Railway Development Authority for the development of the Western Corridor Rail Project.
The deal attracted backlash from Ghanaians who questioned the essence of the rebranding with pictures of some of Ghana’s past and current presidents, and the whooping amount of money involved.
GHS3.6m Smarttys bus branding contract approved within 24 hours
Speaking to 3FM in Accra Tuesday, the MP for Takoradi described the development as heartbreaking, claiming it goes to show that the president is incompetent in managing the country’s resources.
“It’s heartbreaking, especially (for) those of us in the Western Region who want the railway to be up and doing, for us to come to realize that the monies have been taken away and used to put pictures of the President on Metro Mass Buses”
He said it was no coincidence that monies meant for the development of railways were diverted to rebrand buses, noting that the owner of Smarttys, Selasie Ibrahim, is married to Alhaji Ibrahim Adams who is the Board Chairman of the Railway Development Authority.
“It means that maybe it was the husband who was telling her where the money was. It’s very disheartening and it shows how incompetent President Mahama has been in managing the resources of this country” Mr Mensah said.
Chairman of the Ghana Railway Workers Union, Godwill Ntarmah, was also not happy that monies for railway development were diverted to rebrand the buses with pictures.
He said it appeared all the efforts they made during the adminstrations of President John Kufuor and the late President John Mills as well as President John Mahama has come to naught.
“I am short of words, I don’t believe it, when we have all agreed that the Railway sector is dear to the economic development of the nation. I pray that this is not true”.
He underscored the importance of the railways to the national economy, saying “if the lines from Awaso to Takoradi were operating, we could haul bauxite effectively, we could haul cocoa, we could haul manganese …in the past, the railways employed over 10,000 workers”.
By Shirley Ewurama Smith|3FM 92.7|3news.com