Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, October 26, 2015
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, Managing Editor of The New Crusading Guide newspaper, has described the process of funding and printing of presidential diaries as ‘naked robbery.’
He has therefore called for an audit into the process to determine how much was raised and spent after it was revealed that a private firm was given presidential letterheads for the fund-raising exercise.
It has been revealed that JIT Magazines and Diary Services was the company permitted to use the presidency to solicit funds to print free diaries.
Presidential staffer, Dr. Clement Apaak, who made the revelation on Joy FM’s ‘Newsfile’ at the weekend, said the process for printing the diaries was in place before the NDC government came to power in 2009.
“The presidency usually prints about 1,500 to 2,000 diaries,” Dr. Apaak revealed.
However, it is still not known how much was raised to print the diaries or the actual cost of printing them.
Dr. Clement Apaak, who said he played a role in the process of determining the choice of the company, maintained that any company is free to present a proposal to print the diaries.
He explained that JIT Magazines and Diary Services were selected because they presented an attractive improvement on previous copies of the diary.
In spite of Dr. Apaak’s explanation, Kweku Baako Jnr, who is a longstanding panelist on the programme, insisted that government’s clarification that the diaries are printed by private companies at no cost to the state, had left more questions than answers.
He said it is “mind-boggling” for the presidency to sanction the practice, even if it was also done by previous governments.
According to him, the monies raised by private companies through the use of the presidency are “technically public funds.”
“How much was raised? You don’t know? You don’t care?....so if they raised $20 million and applied 10 million and used the other 10 million for their own activities that’s agreed by government?” he queried.
Kweku Baako Jnr also questioned the process used to select the eventual printing company. “how did those companies get to know that they needed to make proposals? Was there a notice requiring this? If the notice was given, when? Where? How?”
According to Mr Kweku Baako, the presidentially sanctioned process of printing diaries revealed that the presidency is “so mediocre and inept.”
Mr Apaak backed calls for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, to apologise if he has no evidence to support his claim that the diaries were printed for $10 million.
“He has to be asked. If he has the answer he must provide it. If he doesn’t have he has to explain himself. If it means a retraction and an apology, he renders it,” he charged.
Trying to explain the expenditure following the allegation, another presidential staffer, Stan Dogbe, even called the NPP stalwart a lair, even though he (Dogbe) could not deny the fact that huge sums of money were sunk into the venture.
He wrote on social media, “No government under the NDC has spent a pesewa of the public purse to produce diaries.
"Such dairies have always been paid for from corporate advertising proceeds, and the canvassing for such adverts is the responsibility of the company selected to produce the diaries"
Apart from Stan Dogbe, other government officials, including Deputy Communications Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, have unconvincingly tried to explain that the state did not spend anything on the diaries.