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General News Sat, 10 Jan 2009

Controversy rages over seizure of "state-owned" vehicles

ontroversy looms large over the seizure of a fleet of state-owned vehicles which ex-government functionaries are believed to have attempted to re-register as private automobiles.


At least a former deputy minister and Chief Kufuor, son of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, were victims of a raid conducted by state security personnel detailed to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Accra, to impound suspected state-owned vehicles which were allegedly being given private labels.


Secretary to the NDC transition team Alex Segbefia confirmed the seizures on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, News File on Saturday but served notice that the vehicles would be returned to their owners if they were found not to be state assets.


Joy News investigations however indicate that Chief Kufuor’s four-wheel drive which was impounded was returned to him last night. The President’s son confirmed he had only been taking the car, registered in his uncle’s name, to the DVLA for a renewal of its MOT certificate.


Editor of the Crusading Guide newspaper, Kwaku Bako, had ealier on the programme stated that checks by his paper into the matter had revealed that although the vehicle had been in the possession of Chief Kufuor, it originally belonged to and had been registered in the name of Mr George Kufuor, an uncle to Chief Kufuor.


Mr Segbefia dismissed assertions that the government’s effort to retrieve the vehicles amounted to persecuting the opposition. The transition secretary stated that the programme is only to ensure that “the state takes what belongs to it.”

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The “repossession exercise” being embarked upon comes at a time when the assets sub-committees of the transition teams of both the outgoing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) are finalising protocols and proposals to ensure a smooth transfer of certain assets.


Meanwhile former Chief of Staff at the Osu Castle, Kwame Mpiani, who called into the programme condemned perceptions that the vehicles which were being registered belonged to the state.


He said his office had prepared a record of all state-owned vehicles including those secured for the Ghana@50 celebrations.


Mr Mpiani however supplied information that “most of the vehicles were sold.”


Although not sure of the exact number of vehicles on the government Assets of Inventory, the former Chief of Staff presented the following as vehicles purchased for the country’s 50th birthday: 50 Mercedez Benz saloon cars, 50 BMW saloon cars, 35 Chryslers, 40 Peugeots, 35 Jaguars and a few buses.


He said his office disposed of all the vehicles except for some 35 Peugeot cars which were assigned to the police force, and 11 Benz and BMW saloon cars which currently remain at the Castle car park.

Source: jfm
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