The debate over how many state vehicles were actually left by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration before exiting office is resurfacing.
This follows the acquisition of a tracking device by the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to locate all the vehicles that have fallen into the hands of unauthorized persons.
Once the chassis number of the vehicle is entered into the tracking device, it is able to send officials straight to the location where the vehicle is being kept.
Nana Odeneho Oppong, Director-General in-charge of Transport and Logistics at the presidency, told DAILY GUIDE on Tuesday that the taskforce was going to use all legal means, including application for a search warrant, to retrieve the vehicles.
He said a test run of the tracking device even sent officials to locations in Accra where two Toyota Land Cruiser V8s and Toyota Land Cruiser Prado were retrieved recently.
He said one of the Land Cruisers with registration number GE 2925-14, fitted with special communications gadget and a siren, was parked at the Police Barracks behind the DVLA and the purported owner, a policeman, had been asked to report himself.
Nana Oppong also said the NPP government had disbanded all groups that were pursuing stolen cars in the heat of the transition and has formed a special taskforce made up of the police, military and DVLA officials to go for the stolen cars using the tracking device.
He therefore, advised anybody who might be in what he called ‘illegal’ possession of government vehicle to return it voluntarily or face the music.
The erstwhile NDC government claimed that it left behind 641 vehicles, including saloon cars; but according to Nana Oppong, only 173 vehicles had been officially handed over to him.
Interestingly, he said the cars the NDC claimed it left behind include some 43 saloon cars they sold to officials of the previous government at outrageous prices.
Currently, he said his office is chasing owners of 43 saloon cars that were not supposed to have been auctioned by the Mr Mahama’s administration because those cars were less than two years old as mandated by law and that some of the people who acquired them were not entitled to them.
They were all 2015 brands the state acquired but sold to former ministers and appointees at ridiculous prices just after a year, contrary to the policy on the acquisition of government cars.
Former National Security Advisor, Baba Camara for instance, is said to have taken home a 2015 Toyota Camry while Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, a former Minister of Food and Agriculture, got a 2015 Nissan Teana and Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, former Minister of Sports, taking home a 2015 Toyota Avensis.
Documents showed that less than two-year-old Toyota Camry was reportedly valued at GH¢4,000 and all these happened after December 7 last year when the NDC had lost the crucial general election.
A former presidential staffer, Sam Nettey George – who is currently the NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram – had said in February that 271 out of 641 vehicles were auctioned to the staffers at the presidency, confirming the earlier reports that some of the state vehicles were missing.
Sam George told Citi FM in Accra, “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 requests to purchase their vehicles which were two years and above.”
He admitted that the NDC government sold the vehicles after the December 7, 2016 general election, saying, “You cannot sell the vehicles to the people before the elections. You will only sell after the elections are done and dusted and you know that people are leaving office,” adding, “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.”
However, Nana Oppong said his office had written to all those involved in the transactions to return the cars in peace, saying, “the taskforce is going all out to retrieve the cars.”
He revealed that they had information that some of the cars were auctioned to automobile firms and other private companies in contravention of the law and added that some former officials had the vehicles and transferred them to other people.
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