“…Why will an outgoing government order for the purchase of new vehicles for itself….or better still, why will a departing administration buy cars for an incoming government? Does this make sense?” a senior official of the Mahama government quizzed
This rhetorical question, apparently, was to demonstrate that, indeed, there were some high-level discussions between both sides of the 2016 transition teams over the purchase of vehicles for the Akufo Addo presidency.
But, and perhaps, the NPP government and functionaries, trapped in a quagmire following President Akufo Addo’s “decree” of “no more purchase of new official cars” and also, the fear of looming judgment debt; find themselves torn between the devil and the deep blue sea, The aL-hAJJ can today confirm.
ROLE OF KEN OFORI ATTA
Ken here, Ken there and Ken everywhere! The name of Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta; since the inception of the Akufo Addo government seem synonymous for all the wrong reasons in the country’s media.
On the blind side of the president-elect, Nana Akufo Addo, (though other sources say he is in the know) a deal was struck with the outgoing Mahama administration, for the importation of some vehicles early enough; for use at the inauguration of the incoming-president on January 07, this year and also, to augment the presidential fleet.
Painstaking investigation by The aL-hAJJ revealed that, even though the then outgoing president, John Mahama sanctioned a request by some “prominent” persons from both sides of the transition team for the purchase of new vehicles for use by incoming President Addo, the vehicles couldn’t arrived before the inauguration of president Akufo Addo on January 7 this year due to certain challenges including, changes in specifications.
Enquiries by this paper revealed that, President John Mahaha’s green light for the deal, as was captured in the letter by his Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah to the then Finance minister, Seth Terkper following compelling whys and wherefores put forward by NPP member on the transition, Ken Ofori Atta.
Mr. Ofori Atta, thought to be making the request on the authority of His Excellency President-elect, Nana Akufo Addo, was reported to have discussed the issue with his NDC counterpart, Seth; who also sorts approval from higher authorities after seeking the advice of National Security.
ENTER ALHAJI OSMAN OF National Security
Alhaji Salifu Osman, Deputy National Security coordinator was subsequently tasked by his outfit with the responsibility of liaising with all parties concerned. The aL-hAJJ’s investigation was to later unearthed some striking and curious coincidence in the deal, possibly, on the blind side of the incoming president, Akufo Addo and then caretaker President, Mahama thereof.
It came to light during our investigations that, because the acquisition of the vehicles and the exigency at the time and, the specialized nature of the vehicles were also matters concerning the security of the President; the National Security Secretariat tasked Alhaji Osman to oversee the transactions.
However and paradoxically, our investigations further revealed that, the businessman whose company is at the center of the importation of these “mystery” vehicles, which are currently stuck in Dubai, one Kwabena Boateng Aidoo; also happens to be one of the financiers of then President-elect, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo’s campaign. The said Kwabena Boateng Aidoo is also known to be a close pal of Alhaji Osman of the National Security.
Indeed, in the middle of negotiations for the purchase of these custom-made vehicles late December last year, additional information obtained was that, the Akufo Addo/NPP financier, Kwabena Boateng Aidoo, sponsored an-all-expenses fully paid vacation for some NPP stalwarts, an influential media guru and three others to Dubai.
NUMBER OF VEHICLES
A dependable source close to former president Mahama told this paper that “the deal initially was for the purchase of just few vehicles for the exclusive use by the incoming President hence President Mahama’s quick response to the request”.
The aL-hAJJ is still digging to ascertain how the number of vehicles eventually shot up to 43 and now 55. The 9m US$ worth contract as at now is reported to be for the procurement of 55 vehicles for the presidency and was signed on behalf of Ghana government by former Deputy National Security Coordinator, Alhaji Salifu Osman.
The presidential fleet it is reported shall cover the president, vice president, the first and the second ladies, the presidential press corps and medical team. The vehicles are mostly bullet-proof and a larger number of them are stated to have been allocated to the office of the president and his vice while the remaining was to go to the office of the first and the second ladies as well as the security, media and medical team at the presidency.
They yet to be delivered vehicles include, 5 full option B6 armored plated 4 seater executive Mercedes Benz (S600) for the President and the Vice President.
8 cross country vehicles for President and Vice President and another 8 cross country vehicles for President and Vice President (escorts)
Others are, 2 cross country rapid intervention vehicles for the President and the vice President, 2 cross country ambulance for the President and Vice President, 2 pick-up trucks with radio and communication as lead car for the President and Vice President; 2 full option B6 armored plated BMW 730LI with radio & video communication for the first and second ladies and 2 full option B6 cross country vehicle with radio and video communication for the first and second lady.
The rest are 6 BMW 530 with radio and video communication for the first and second ladies, 4 light body cross country vehicle with radio and video communication (for escort & media) for the first and second ladies and 2 pickup truck with radio and communication as lead car for the first and second ladies.
The difficulty in accessing full details on this matter is also because most of the actors on both sides of the political divide have been hesitant opening up. Whiles officials in the former NDC regime cite oath of office and secrecy and confidentiality, NPP government officials are not only nonchalant, they insist, they had no knowledge about the importation of the vehicles ordered barely eight days before the official transfer of power on January 7 this year.
But, the Minority in Parliament has accused the government of “bad faith.” According to the Minority the incoming government of President Akufo-Addo gave the authorization for the supply of the 43 specialized armored vehicles for its (government) use. They also claimed National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, knew about the said vehicles. However, the National Security Minister has strenuously denied that charge.
What we do however know is that, the incoming NPP transition team, together with National Security under the supervision of Alhaji Osman (representing government), agreed on the vehicle types, the specifications and makes to suit Akufo Addo presidency
The questions begging for answers in this whole drama is, did the said Kwabena Boateng Aidoo approached the then president-elect, Akufo Addo after his election victory to “sell” the idea for him to have specialized bullet proof vehicles and, did president-elect Akufo Addo authorized Ken Ofori Atta to take up the matter with Finance Minister, Seth Terkper?
Also, did Ken Ofori Atta, then a member of the NPP side of the transition team on finance; hold discussions with then Finance minister, Terkper on the need to enhance the presidential fleet?
Did Seth Serkper also consult his boss, President John Mahama, who then gave his approval leading to the then Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, writing formally to confirm the government’s approval for the deal, which initially; was supposed to be for the purchase of some few new vehicles?
Was Alhaji Osman of National Security at all material time dealing with Terkper on the NDC side, Ken Ofori Atta and Kan Dapaah from the NPP side of the transition team and the said Kwabena Boateng Aidoo representing the importers of the vehicles?
Who and who, subsequently increased the number of vehicles to be imported from just some few, to the now established figure of 55 with all the added specs; including armor plated?
Did the alleged importer, Kwabena Boateng Aidoo sponsored an all-expense-paid vacation trip to Dubai for Sammy Awuku, NPP Youth Organizer, Perry Okudjeto, NPP Deputy Communication Director, Horpeson Adoyey, NPP Communication team Member, and an award winning broadcaster and three others (names withheld) to Dubai in late December 2016?
Is it also true, all members in Kwabena Boateng Aidoo entourage to Dubai were each rewarded with brand new V8 Land cruisers, with the ace broadcaster allegedly, grabbing an extra brand new luxurious saloon car for his wife?
Did the team stayed at a plush 5star hotel in Dubai and, were they taking by Mr Kwabena Boateng Aidoo while in Dubai, to inspect the supposed and yet-to-be delivered presidential fleet? Stay tuned for more anon
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