General News of Wed, 8 Feb 201771
Mahama finally packs out
Former President John Dramani Mahama has finally packed out of the No.3 Prestige Link residence at Cantonments, Accra, which he wanted to keep as part of his end-of-service package.
After public pressure had reached a crescendo, the former president who lost miserably to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, during last year’s crucial election, said he was no longer interested in keeping the property which is the official residence of sitting vice presidents.
He was said to have packed out last Friday and former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, reportedly signed an inventory of the residence prepared by officials of the government and the Public Works Department (PWD) on Monday, February 6, to signify the official handing over of the house.
Ex-President Mahama is said to be currently residing at Airport Residential Area, near Gold House in Accra, according to the Greater Accra Regional Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Anthony Nukpenu.
The ex-president’s request to keep the facility sparked outrage and as the debate ensued, the government said it had declined the request.
It is suggested that Mr Mahama wanted the No. 3 Prestige Link residence as part of his retirement package the moment he stepped into that facility as then vice president and that’s why he ordered the construction of a new one to house the current vice president and subsequent ones at Cantonments, with all its security risks.
According to sources, there were about 17 luxurious Toyota Avalon saloon cars, Land Cruisers and BMW, but since the ex-president packed out, only one Avalon is said to have been left for the new government as contained in the handing over notes.
The posh vehicle were all said to have been driven away to unknown locations.
Most of them at the presidency were reportedly auctioned to (presidential) staffers and other ‘powerful’ NDC gurus who allegedly changed the ownership with the help of some DVLA staff just before Nana Akufo-Addo was sworn in as president.
Recently, it emerged that Mahama was demanding five saloon cars and five four-wheel drive vehicles as part of the retirement package; but it is unclear if the unaccounted-for Toyota Avalons were part of the demand.
Currently, saloon cars left in the presidential pool are those reportedly left by President Kufuor’s administration when he left office in January 2009 and which the NDC administration never used, as well as aged vehicles used by the immediate past NDC administration.
A statement from Mr Mahama’s office had said that he found it important to move out of the building to avoid marring the spirit of cooperation between the two sides of the Transition Team.
Even after coming public to say he had changed his mind, it took him almost a month to pack out.
Former President Mahama’s request to keep the bungalow appeared contrary to the approved recommendations set by the Prof. Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh committee on Emoluments and Conditions of Service for Article 71 office holders.
The committee’s reportedly did not recommend a house for him but rather agreed on 40 percent of his salary in lieu of accommodation.
Apparently, the NDC government after realizing that there was no basis to appropriate the house, allegedly used its majority in parliament to secretly amend the Prof. Edu-Buandoh Committee report to include housing settlement for outgoing President Mahama.
Even after the amendment, the immediate-past NDC government did not say then President Mahama’s abode should be given to him.