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Ghana@59 brochure saga: ISD directorship declared vacant

The directorship of the Information Services Department (ISD) has been declared vacant following the dismissal of the acting director over the error-ridden Ghana’s 59th Independence Day anniversary brochure.

President John Mahama sacked the acting director Mr. Francis Kwarteng Arthur on March 10, 2016 just days after he apologised, and took responsibility for the errors that characterised the anniversary brochure that came to be known as brochure-gate.

But the Civil Service Council on Monday declared the position vacant and began steps to find a permanent replacement Mr Kwarteng who was criticised for the errors which many considered unpardonable.

Currently, the Council is seeking applications from qualified individuals with a minimum of 15 years experience, strong report and proposal writing skills and fluent in both written and spoken English.

The applicant must have the “ability to demonstrate excellent leadership in performance management.”

Per the notice advertising the position, the new ISD director will be required to advise the Ministry of Communication on the development of a restructuring plan for the Department.

The person will also “lead the review of press releases and publications by the government institution,”

Background

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 Uhuru Kenyata 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 March 8, 2016.

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 March 7, 2016 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.

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