Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday January 15, 2018
Former President John Dramani Mahama has dismissed the ‘stolen vehicles’ tag placed on members who served in his National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, describing it as ‘political rhetoric.’
He said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is hiding behind the vehicles to ‘demonise’ members of his administration and as a result, has dared the government to prosecute the ‘culprits,’ if there is any evidence that they stole state vehicles.
“There might be one or two vehicles that might have been misplaced; but 300 vehicles missing? By now people should have been arrested and prosecuted over the missing vehicles,” he told Ghana Television (GTV) in an interview last week.
Flagstaff House Tour
The former president said, “An inventory list of government assets was taken, including vehicles. I remember when I took Nana Addo (President Akufo-Addo) round and took him to the villa at the Flagstaff House and stood in the first lady’s room and from there we could see a sea of vehicles that were associated with the presidency and so Nana Addo himself asked what those vehicles were doing there and I said those are the vehicles we are handing over to you.
“There were 430 vehicles all parked there. Where are 300 vehicles going to be parked in this country? It is part of the political rhetoric of demonizing the administration that is leaving.”
Interestingly, after he had taken President Akufo-Addo to the pool, the then outgoing NDC administration reportedly started dishing out the vehicles to its appointees and loved ones who didn’t deserve the cars.
For instance, a certain Mawusi who was said to be a secretary at the Chief of Staff’s office, was allegedly allocated an executive Toyota Avalon driven by the president at a give-away price. Meanwhile, it had been captured as a vehicle being bequeathed to the incoming NPP administration.
Some of Mr. Mahama’s appointees admitted in the heat of the transition that the then outgoing government auctioned some of the state vehicles to themselves at ridiculous prices, which set tongues wagging; and it sharply contradicts what the former president is claiming.
A two-year-old Toyota Camry was reportedly valued at GH¢4,000 - and all that happened after December 7, 2016, when the NDC had miserably lost the crucial general election.
On Saturday, February 13, 2017 for instance, Sam Nettey George, a former presidential staffer and current Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram, threw a bombshell when he said on Citi FM that 271 out of 641 vehicles were auctioned to the staffers at the presidency. However, he later tried to claim that the radio station misreported him, despite the fact that he was captured on tape.
On Citi FM’s current affairs programme, ‘The Big Issues,’ Mr Sam George had said, “A number of my colleagues chose to buy their cars,” and added that he was not part of those who put in requests. “I, for personal reasons, declined to buy my car.”
He indicated, “I returned my car to the Director of Logistics at the Office of the President.”
370 Handed To NPP
According to Sam George, the outgoing Mahama government “put out the list of 641 vehicles we handed over - if my memory is right - 370 vehicles to the Assets and Logistics Committee.”
“I spoke to the outgone Director of Logistics who was a political appointee. He was responsible for the fleet because when I needed a vehicle he brought me my Camry. He is the one I always went to when we needed vehicles,” he explained, adding, “He took care of the president’s trip every time vehicle fleet was going out, and I called him and said to him ‘tell me how many vehicles we handed over.’”
Mr Sam George said that the Director of Logistics had told him, “We handed over 370 vehicles, and these vehicles were physically inspected by the Assets Committee led by Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo.”
Current Acting Director of Communications at the presidency, Eugene Arhin, had stated that about 208 of the vehicles bequeathed to the administration of Akufo-Addo by the NDC government could not be traced, sparking furore.
He had said that there was big disparity between the vehicles left over by the Mahama administration and what were actually handed over to the new administration.
But then Deputy Chief of Staff under the Mahama administration, Johnny Osei Kofi, came out with a counter statement, describing Mr. Arhin’s claims as “false, baseless and without merit.”
He explained that 641 vehicles were left for the new administration without indicating that some of them had been taken away by appointees at give-away prices.
According to him, interested staffers applied to the Chief of Staff and the processes were initiated from the Office of the President.