Governance expert, Prof Ransford Gyampo, says he doubts the claim by the government that over 200 vehicles have been reported missing from the Presidency’s fleet of vehicles possibly by members of the previous government.
He said emerging details from the previous government and conflicting accounts by some members of the current government on the matter cast a doubt on the credibility of the claim that was made last week by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin.
Prof Gyampo, an Associate Professor at the Political Science department of the University of Ghana, is further alarmed by the signal the claim sends about the country’s poor record keeping.
“There are so many imponderable issues to this claim [of the missing vehicles]…the contradictory and conflicting things regarding the number of cars that are [at the Presidency] and those that are not there is a monumental shame to us as a nation in terms of our effort to keep record and take stock of assets that belong to the State,” he said on Joy FM/Joy News’ Newsfile programme, Saturday.
Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, told journalists last week that 208 cars missing from the Flagstaff House pool of vehicles.
The claim, which comes shortly after President Nana Akufo-Addo set up a task-force to retrieve state assets unlawfully being held by individuals, has been contested severely by the previous government.
A former Deputy Chief of Staff in the previous NDC government says the current administration is only scheming to ride on the false claim of the mission vehicles to paint former officials as corrupt.
Johnny Osei Kofi in a statement Thursday said the claim by Eugene Arhin is “baseless and without merit.”
“As part of the transition process, both the Assets and Logistics Committee on the NPP side were given a detailed list of all vehicles in the pool at the Presidency,” he said in the statement that also said a total of 641 vehicles have been handed over to new government, complete with the requisite documents.
Commenting on the matter on Newsfile on Saturday Prof Gyampo also said even if the claim of the missing vehicle was true, the current administration went about wrongly.
“There is a way to go about this: call the former Chief of Staff [Julius Debrah] and sort things out with him. To go public and be making these types of claims is diversionary,” he told show host Evans Mensah.
He advised the government against dabbling in propaganda that has the potential of making them lose focus on its promise for good governance.
“The mandate that has been given to them [government] is quite huge. The goodwill of the NPP government is huge and let them not dissipate this goodwill by focusing on some these minor issues,” stressed.
If indeed 200 vehicles are missing from the Presidency then it is a serious matter, he said, demanding a more serious probe than a public announcement — like Mr Arhin has done.
“I doubt it. They [vehicles] may be in the system,” he said.
Prof Gyampo also faulted the office of the Administrator-General which is mandated by law to verify assets declared by the outgoing administration during the transition process.
He said when ex-President John Mahama’s administration declared the cars it was leaving behind, the prudent thing to do was to ensure that the list of declared vehicles and the actual number of vehicles were consistent.
“I am quite disappointed in the Administrator-General and Ayikoi Otoo [Chairman of the NPP Transition Team]”, Mr Gyampo said.