ISD boss was sacked because he distributed error-filled Ghana@59 brochure – Prez Mahama

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The acting Director of Information Services Department [ISD] was sacked because he distributed the error-filled anniversary brochure for Ghana’s 59th Independence Day celebration without consultation.

The President sacked Mr. Francis Kwarteng Arthur Thursday just days after he apologised and took responsibility for the errors that characterised the anniversary brochure.

No reasons were assigned but it was clear Mr Arthur’s dismissal was triggered by the errors and his actions aftermaths, which was widely criticised, particularly by staff of the ISD.

But in an exlusive interview Monday on TV3’s magazine show, New Day, President Mahama addressed the issue, which has come to be known as brochure-gate.

He suggested that the dismissal of Mr Arthur was because he failed to consult with the Chairman of the Independence Day Anniversary Planning Committee on whether to distribute the brochure on March 6 when he detected the errors on the morning of the event.

“He [Mr Arthur] said he saw the mistakes in the morning and he had to take a decision [on] whether to distribute it or not to distribute it. I would have thought that the Chairman of the Celebrations planning committee should have been consulted, whether to distribute or not to distribute,” President Mahama told TV3.

The President said, in any case, Mr Arthur issued a statement to own up for the mistakes which has grabbed international headlines and been widely criticised, particularly by Ghanaians.

“And he [Mr Arthur] wrote and said he takes responsibility for what happened,” President Mahama said.

At the back of public criticism of the brochure that was fraught with errors, misrepresentation and inaccuracies, Mr Arthur on March 7 issued a statement to apologise to the president and the people of Ghana on behalf of the ISD, which he claimed, authored the brochure. The brochure among other errors, addressed Kenya’s President UhuruKenyata as the President of Ghana.

“The Department, which authored the content of the brochure, accepts responsibility and wishes to unreservedly apologise for the development,” the statement said

But that did not go down well with the staff of the Department who discounted Mr Arthur’s claim, forcing him to retract and apologise to the staff at a durbar on Tuesday.

He, however, insisted that he was responsible for the content of the error-ridden independence anniversary brochure, which has since sparked controversy and grabbed international headlines.

“After meeting with my colleagues, and [after] deliberations, I have acknowledged that I should have issued it  [the apology] in my capacity as the chair of the Communications subcommittee of the National Planning Committee. I’m assuming full responsibility. I have listened to their suggestions and I’m prepared to move along with my team collectively,” Mr Arthur told journalists after the meeting.

Again, at said durbar, Mr Arthur claimed that the Flagstaff House approved the error-filled Independence Day brochure for publication, stating that the final work did not come from the ISD but the Flagstaff House which designed and printed the brochure whose content he personally produced.

He also revealed that he deliberately forged the ISD letterhead that he used for the Monday’s misleading apology statement to the President and the people of Ghana

“Yesterday Monday, I did not have a copy of the ISD letter heads in my file… When push came to shove, I didn’t have access to [the official letter head] so on my laptop, I had the coat of arms there so I just lifted the coat of arms and with my computer skills that I have, I typed under it.”

“So what you see there is what I generated and this is to explain the reason why it is not on an official and a notable letterhead that all of you are familiar with,” he added.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana
Twitter @steviekgh

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