It has been confirmed that the Ford mini bus that crashed last week killing the Ghanaian Times Presidential Correspondent, Samuel Nuamah and leaving others fighting for their lives, was hired to convey the journalists.
The press corps was returning to Accra from the Volta Regional capital, Ho, where President John Mahama had attended the annual convention of the EP Church, climaxing it with a donation of a vehicle to the church.
A source at the presidency told DAILY GUIDE that he could not name the hiring company but was emphatic that it was the Flagstaff House’s Transport Department that hired the GMC Savanna mini bus with registration GB 506 – 12 at the request of the Communications Department to augment the fleet to Ho in the Volta Region.
According to the source, the Flagstaff House regularly hired buses to convey media practitioners to the President’s assignments but the crashed vehicle was let out to them for the first time.
Interestingly, the source could not tell whether the Transport Department conducted thorough checks on the road worthiness of the vehicle, particularly the tyres, which DAILY GUIDE has learnt, appeared worn out.
The source said that the bus was hired from Accra and not Ho, the Volta Regional capital, as initially reported. It crashed at Shai Hills on the Accra-Akosombo highway when it was returning to Accra.
The source also said the accident bus always followed the first vehicle in the presidential convoy, which was full of camera crew and said the driver often travelled with them.
He said the driver of the accident vehicle had been discharged and added that every occupant in the bus sustained injuries saying, “It was a terrible accident. The occupants went through a lot.”
According to the source, initially the presidency was providing a single bus for journalists but incessant complaints from editors whose reporters were left out compelled the Flagstaff House to bring in an additional bus.
So far, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Pascaline Amenyo Adadevoh and Napoleon Ato Kittoe of GTV; Patrick Biddah of the Enquirer and William Gyentu of Peace FM, are receiving treatment at the hospital.
The rest are TV3’s Edward Frimpong Kwabi and TV Africa’s Mawusi Gboglah.
Mr. Gyentu is said to have regained consciousness but was yet to speak while Pascaline, Atto Kittoe and Biddah were able to grant interviews amidst pain.
Ato Kittoe had most part of his face covered with plaster while Edward Kwabi had his neck and his right leg bandaged. Patrick Biddah had some cuts around his mouth, with his jaw swollen.
A media coordinator at the Flagstaff House, Victor Odoi, who was in the front seat of the bus, also sustained injuries but has been discharged from the hospital.
According to some members of the presidential press corps, Samuel Nuamah had complained of ‘getting tired’ with the job and had contemplated going to the United States to join his wife Lilian, who is domiciled there.
On that fateful day, Nuamah, who was said to be sitting at the rear, reportedly started to jot down his story when they got to Asutsuare and as a result, allegedly removed his seatbelt. He was thrown out of the vehicle, dying instantly.
His mother-in-law granted radio interviews and said that even though Mr. Nuamah visits his almost two-and-a-half-year-old son on weekends, he ‘strangely’ came to them on Wednesday, a day before the accident, and even took a photograph with the little boy.