The controversy surrounding the number of cars at the presidency is getting murkier as different figures of the presidential fleet keep popping up.
While Mr David Asante, a member of the governing New Patriotic Party’s communication team insists the new administration met a total of 218 state vehicles at the presidency out of which 173 are “serviceable” and 45 “abandoned at a place called ‘Kosovo’” in a “completely shattered and broken down” state, a statement issued by former Deputy Chief of Staff in the erstwhile Mahama administration, Mr Johnny Kofi Osei, lists a total of 641 as the total number of vehicles handed over to the Akufo-Addo government by the Mahama government.
Also, Mr Asante, on Saturday 11 February, said on Multi TV’s Newsfile programme that a document handed over to the Akufo-Addo side of the transition team by one Sulley Abubakar, Head of Logistics at the presidency in the former administration, indicated that there were a total of 426 vehicles at the Flagstaff House.
According to Mr Asante, however, despite the different numbers submitted by Mr Sulley Abubakar and Mr Johnny Osei Kofi, the Akufo-Addo government met only a total of 218 cars at the presidency.
Meanwhile, the Administrator General, David Yaro, has come out to publicly state that the outgone government handed over a total of 678 cars even though his office did not take physical inventory of the cars.
According to Mr Yaro, former Chief of Staff Julius Debrah should be queried about the whereabouts of the alleged missing 208 state vehicles at the presidency since documents covering all state properties including the cars at the seat of government were signed off by Mr Debrah during the work of transition team.
Speaking in an interview with Class News' Joshua Kodzo Mensah on Friday, 10 February, Mr Yaro said: “If there are areas that need clarification, the minister going out is invited to help to go through the clarification and everything before you (new minister) sign and take off. One way of making sure they (cars) are missing is that you had your copy of the handing over notes, did you discover the missing vehicles during the transition? If you did, was it raised with whoever signed? In the case of the office of the president, it was signed off by the Chief of Staff, so, the former Chief of Staff should have been questioned to explain how those vehicles came not to be there,” Mr Yaro explained.
“We are shocked and we feel very bad about this situation because between 2001 and 2009, similar things happened, and, so, the law establishing our office was promulgated to take care of such things to stem the occurrence of such things. So, if they are happening again, it’s so sad. It means our law is not being very effective or we are not respecting the tenets of the law.”
Meanwhile, former MP for North Dayi, George Loh, on Newsfile described the allegation by the new government as a “joke”, which the Akufo-Addo administration is using as a “propaganda tool to purchase new vehicles”.
Also on the programme was Prof Ransford Gyampo, who described the discourse over the missing cars as a “monumental shame”, saying the NPP’s harp on the matter sounds “propagandistic” and “diversionary” and urged the party to “focus on governance and govern well” because the mandate given to them by Ghanaians is “huge”. “Don’t dissipate this goodwill by focusing on minor issues,” he urged.
Prof Gyampo also said he doubted if 208 cars were missing, arguing that the fact that they are not at the presidency does not mean they are missing. He also expressed misgivings about the roles played by the Administrator General and former Attorney General Nii Ayikoi Otoo in the whole saga given the two individuals could have helped matters had they played their roles well. Mr Ayikoi Otoo headed the sub-committee on the transition team that dealt with cars at the presidency.