Scofflaw Mahama Could Have Lied, Trust Me, Sydney

Those who have been reading my write-ups on some of the public opinions of the man, are well aware of the fact that I have quite a remarkable admiration and great respect for Mr. Sydney Casely-Hayford. But I would beg to vehemently disagree with the astute financial analyst, with a great pedigree in our country’s history that goes way back to the late 19th Century, on the question of whether former President John Dramani Mahama was lying or not lying when the latter’s former Chief-of-Staff indicated in a widely publicized letter addressed to the Akufo-Addo Transition Team, that an agreement had been reached by both sides to have the then-outgoing President keep the official residence in which he had been living with his family for some 8 years (See “Bungalow Saga: Mahama Couldn’t Have Lied – Casely-Hayford” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/15/17).

First of all, as already indicated in a previous column on this subject, the real issue at stake here is not whether former President Mahama was lying or not lying about his alleged request, but whether it was appropriate or legally and culturally sound for the ex-President to have made such a request, knowing fully well that the Presidential Transition Act expressly stipulated that he had absolutely no right, whatsoever, to hold onto his official residence, a bungalow which had been statutorily designated, since 2001, or thereabouts, as the official residence of all elected Vice-Presidents of Ghana. Couple the foregoing statutory reality with the fact that Mr. Mahama was not the first former Vice-President to have occupied this historic landmark public property, and his scofflaw attitude becomes ineluctably flagrant.

It is almost certain that the late Vice-President Aliu Mahama, who first occupied the same bungalow for some 8 years, was quite comfortable with the residence to have consented to living in it for as long as the law permitted him to. And so the real commonsensical question to ask here is this: If Vice-President Aliu Mahama had decided to violate statutory rules, by holding on to the house in question past his 8-year tenure as Vice-President of Ghana, would Mr. John Dramani Mahama have gotten to occupy the same bungalow which he had been so embarrassingly reluctant to vacate?

Then also, we must bear in mind the fact that President Mahama was legally required to vacate his residence when he assumed reins of governance, more than 4 years ago, as Interim-President of Ghana, following the death of then-President John Evans Atta-Mills. In short, at the time that he allegedly requested to be allowed to keep his Vice-Presidents’ residence, as part of his retirement package, the man had been illegally occupying the house for more than 4 years! I mean, what breed of Ghanaian leader behaves like this, but a veritable scofflaw?!

In other words, by the time that President Mahama exited the national political scene on January 7, 2017, Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur was the one who ought to have been legally occupying that house. That President Mahama clearly appears to have had absolutely no respect for the laws of our beloved country, is what we ought to be discussing, rather than the question of whether the Akufo-Addo Presidential Transition Team members lied about whether such a patently unorthodox request was made or not.

Personally, and I stand to be corrected here also, Nana Akufo-Addo, being an experienced and an astute lawyer – just like Mr. Casely-Hayford’s great-grandfather, Joseph Ephraim, and his grandfather, Archibald – would very likely not have hurriedly sealed the purported “oral agreement” right there and then. Instead, he would have asked to be given some time to ponder the matter, very likely to take this matter up with the Attorney-General’s Office. But, of course, it is quite clear here that it was President Mahama’s Chief-of-Staff, Mr. Julius Debrah, who had lied, and not vice-versa, because his letter had also stated that it was rather the Osafo-Maafo-led Akufo-Addo Transition Team members who had approved of, or consented to, President Mahama’s request, and not the then-President-Elect Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

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