It is turning out that Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) government auctioned many luxurious state vehicles to its appointees at ridiculous prices before leaving office.
For instance, a two-year-old Toyota Camry was reportedly valued at GH¢4,000.
All these happened after December 7 last year when the NDC had miserably lost the crucial general election.
The bombshell was dropped by former presidential staffer, Sam Nettey George – who is currently the NDC MP for Ningo Prampram – when he said that 271 out of 641 vehicles were auctioned to the staffers at the presidency, confirming the earlier reports that some of the state vehicles are missing.
The 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 National Democratic Congress government could not be traced, sparking furore.
He said there was big disparity between the vehicles left over by the Mahama administration and what were actually handed over to them.
But the 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 Sam George, the missing vehicles could be located in the homes of Mahama’s appointees.
The case is before the police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) which has invited the valuer – a certain Ackon of STC Valuation Department – to explain how the valuation was carried out.
However, after dropping the bombshell, Sam George bizarrely turned round to accuse Citi FM – an Accra-based radio station – of misrepresenting him; but unfortunately for the young MP, the programme was captured on tape.
He said on the Big Issue programme of the station on Saturday that “a number of my colleagues chose to buy their cars,” and added that he was not part of those who put in requests saying, “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 any 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.’”
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.”
Mr Sam George observed, “Now, of this 370, there is a disparity of between 370 and 641. This is because 271 saloon cars were purchased by staffers who had put in a request to purchase their vehicles which were two years and above.”
According to him, interested staffers applied to the Chief of Staff and the processes were initiated from the Office of the President.
“Now with purchasing the vehicles, what happens is that when you put in a request to the Chief of Staff to purchase your vehicle, he gives a letter for you to take to the State Transport Company (STC) which does a valuation of the vehicle and that valuation is given to you and you bring it back to the Office of the President,” he explained.
Mr George admitted that the NDC government sold the vehicles after the December 7, 2016 general election.
“You cannot sell the vehicles to the people before the elections. You can’t sell before the elections. You will only sell after the elections are done and dusted and you know that people are leaving office.
“I can bet you, in 2012 very few vehicles were sold between the Mills/Mahama switching into the Mahama administration because it was basically the same party.”
DAILY GUIDE understands that some of the cars, particularly the Toyota Camry which is just above three years old, was sold to the staffers for peanuts.
Some were said to have been sold between GH¢2,500 and GH¢4,000.
Ford Gift Missing
In a related development, it has turned out that the Ford Expedition gift given to President Mahama by the Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, which sparked heated political debate in the run-up to the general election last year, is not among the vehicles in the current presidential pool at the Flagstaff House.
When the heat turned on President Mahama after many said he had been bribed with the vehicle, his office insisted that it was included in the presidential pool.
However, the Transition Report concluded that “the gift Ford Expedition has not been listed in the Handing Over Notes.”
“We invited Mr. Manasseh Azure who did the initial investigation to brief the committee. He told the committee that from the clearance documents, photocopies of which he left with us together with other documents, the car was cleared on 13th February 2013. The letter from the Head of Mission in Burkina Faso which directed the Divisional Commander, Ghana Revenue Authority, Paga Border, to assist with the passage of the said vehicle and those transporting it was dated 29th October, 2012.”
The report indicated, “The Ford Expedition listed in the Handing Over Notes captured at Page 107, under the subtitle, ‘Ford/Passat’ with the user name pool has registration number of GW 48-11, condition weak.
“The committee finds that this Ford Expedition as listed cannot be the Ford Expedition gifted President Mahama since the date of clearance i.e. 13th February, from the port post-dates the date of registration of the Ford Expedition listed in the hand-over notes, i.e.GW 48-11.”
By William Yaw Owusu