The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) has denied any wrongdoing in granting a transport operator permit, describing the allegations of the aggrieved Transport Operators in the Metropolis as ridiculous.
The aggrieved Transport Operators have accused Mr Patrick Sebe, the Transport Manager of the Assembly, and the Acting Mayor, Mr Kwabena Otchere Darko Mensah of conniving to grant another transport operator permit to operate against existing protocols.
However, in a statement issued by the Public Relation Unit of the Assembly, the Assembly said it had at all material times consulted the relevant stakeholders on the decision to accept or decline VIP Jeoun Transport’s application.
The Assembly has also demanded an unqualified apology and a retraction from the Metro Mass Transit Regional Manager for falsely accusing the two personalities and lying to the public.
“In the considered view of the Assembly, their action smell hatred and is born out of mischief and self-centeredness”, the statement said.
The Assembly explained in the statement that STMA in 2017 took a decision to relocate selected transport terminals within the Central Business District of Takoradi to Apramdo Market Transport Terminal, which hitherto was part of his jurisdiction.
Consequently, it said all four transport operators, including the Metro Mass Transit, VIP Jeoun Transport, GPRTU Kumasi Mini-Bus and Tarkwa Station Branches, who were loading from Takoradi to Kumasi were relocated to the Apremdo Market.
It said two years into the relocation exercise, the operators engaged the Assembly and requested for dispensation to resume their operations at the Assembly’s Terminal in Takoradi (adjacent GPRTU Accra Station) due to low patronage at the Apramdo Market, resulting in the collapse of their businesses.
The statement said the Assembly permitted MMT first to resume loading to Kumasi from the terminal following several engagements and considerations.
In September 2019, two other operators, Kumasi Mini-Bus and the Tarkwa Station Branches of GPRTU also applied to come back to Takoradi, which was granted in December 2019. It further explained that in May this year, the last operator among the four who were sent to Apremdo Market, VIP Jeoun Transport also applied, and their request was subjected to the approving process, which includes stakeholders’ consultation.
It said two separate meetings were held on Tuesday June 7 and Thursday June 25, 2022, to discuss the said application.
According to the statement, all the operators at the Assembly’s terminal (adjacent GPRTU Accra Station) and other adjoining terminals as well as interested stakeholders, including the regional secretariat of GPRTU, were invited to attend both meetings.
“At the end of the first meeting, the Assembly was tasked to take measurements and provide scenarios to determine whether the applicant, VIP Jeoun Transport could be accommodated at the terminal. The Assembly, therefore, on Friday 10th June 2022 sent officers to the terminal accordingly for the assignment as agreed in the meeting”, the statement said
It continued to explain that “the second meeting, which was held on 25th July 2022 discussed the assignment that was given to the Assembly at the first meeting. Indeed, at a final site meeting held on Thursday 11th August 2022 to agree on the loading point for VIP Jeoun Transport, all the operators at the terminal were present, including the Regional Manager of MMT and there were no signs of disagreement”.
“It is therefore ridiculous and figment of some peoples’ imagination to blatantly accuse the Regional Minister and the Assembly’s transport officer for non-existing reasons on this matter”, the statement said and urged the general public, especially stakeholders in the transport sector, to disregard the unfounded accusations from the Aggrieved Transport Operators.
The statement assured the public and well-meaning transport industry players of its commitment to enforce the relevant by-laws as part of measures to promote and ensure fairness, equity and justice in the transport sector across the Metropolis.