In a bid to shift public attention from the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Muntaka Khebab SagaÃ¢â‚¬Â and 30 percent increment of fuel prices, government has penciled a number of politicians belonging to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for harassment, including being hauled before the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for interrogation.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, MP for Weija, yesterday fell victim to this operation when officers from the National Security stormed the streets and snatched her private vehicle in Rambo style while she was in church worshiping her Maker.
No reason has yet been given for the seizure and DAILY GUIDE gathered that she took a taxi home after church, as her vehicle was sent to the National Security office behind the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra.
The vehicle, a Peugeot 407, was snatched around 12 noon yesterday when Shirley sent her driver to Adabraka in Accra to pick a few items and bring them to her at church.
The driver, on reaching Adabraka, was ordered to stop by some persons who claimed they were National Security officers from the Castle who had been ordered to bring the vehicle. They therefore demanded the key since, according to them, they were acting on Ã¢â‚¬Ëœinstructions from above.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
The driver refused to comply and explained that he was no fool to hand over the car keys to some unknown persons in the streets who claimed they were acting on instructions and that at best, they should follow him to see the owner of the car and get the documents if that was what they wanted.
They security operatives then flashed their badges and ordered the driver to drive after them to the Castle; but again, he refused and immediately called Ayorkor Botchway on phone and asked the security officers to speak to her first because the vehicle belonged to her.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the Castle Boys got incensed and kicked the phone from the driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hand after which they called in some armed uniform men who shoved the driver into the vehicle and ordered him to drive under duress to the Castle Annex.
On reaching their destination, the driver was then asked to go tell the owner of the car to produce the documents and come for it.
Shirley, in an interview with DAILY GUIDE, said she first used the said vehicle as her official car in 2004 when she went into government and that on leaving office in 2009, she opted for a government policy that allows the administrative class to purchase their official government vehicles which are two years and over.
The new government since taking office in January has stopped a number of NPP officials on the streets and taken over their private vehicles under an excuse that they were stolen cars.
On a number of occasions, the Office of the President had been compelled to murmur some feeble apologies when it turned out that the seized vehicles did not belong to the state.
President Atta Mills, when asked in a recent interview with the BBC whether there was the need for some orderliness about the manner in which cars were seized from former government appointees, said there was no need for a regulation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There does not have to be a rule. You are in government and you are given property and vehicles to enable you do your work. Once you leave government, it stands to reason that the property be returned. So if you are using it, are you using it for government purposes or for private purposes?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am surprised that the person is talking about the rampant seizure of property. Whose property are we talking about? Is it property that belongs to the people or property that belongs to the state? If there is any property that belongs to the state, anyone in possession of this property must hand it over to the state. Our problem as a nation is that we do not have any inventory of our assets and therefore in one or two cases, there have been some uncertainty about ownership but I can assure you that whatever belongs to the government would be retrieved whether the people in possession like it or not.Ã¢â‚¬Â he told Alex Jakana of the BBC.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo