A human rights court in Ghana has ordered for the disclosure of the controversial contract between the Ministry of Transport and Smartyy’s Productions for the rebranding of 116 buses, and documents relating to the contract, following legal action by seven Ghanaians and citing the below stated article.
The ruling states: “… under Article 21(1) (f) of the Constitution, persons including the Applicants are entitled to access public information that is in the custody or possession of the Government upon a request, and where appropriate and lawful.”
Supporting the decision, Justice Anthony Yeboah said that the right to information is a human right and a constitutional one.
“No one must be allowed to benefit from his own wrong, the State ought not to be allowed to benefit from the failure to pass a Freedom of Information Act by using the nonexistence of such an Act as a ground for refusing to disclose the requested information,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
With that, the ministry of transport and Attorney General have been tasked to avail the branding contract to the Seven within the next 14 days. However, other documents in accordance to the contract are to be made available subject to prohibition of their disclosure by other laws and the propensity of such disclosures to cause harm.
The court has also ordered that the respondents answer in writing, whether or not the award of the contract was done in adherence to the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663), whether or not the contract procurement was competitive or sole sourced, and whether or not there were other alternatives to the contract.
The hyped contract involves rebranding the buses with photos of the past and current presidents of Ghana and the national colours.
In their petition, the seven represented by Kofi Bentil and Nana Akwasi Awuah, sought the details of the bus branding contract in pursuit of their civic responsibility to protect and preserve public property and combat the misuse and waste of public funds and property [Article 41 (f), 1992 Constitution.
This all emerged from the ȼ3.6 million of oil revenue spent on the rebranding of 116 buses by government.
To note is that Ghana is yet to pass the FOI law. The bill is still pending in Parliament.