The Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has been petitioned to investigate “unwarranted harassment” by the state asset recovery taskforce.
According to the petitioner Kwesi Livingstone whose Toyota Landcruiser was seized, he suffered unwarranted harassment and threats to his person by some members of the taskforce.
He was stopped at Weija by members the task force and asked to report to the presidency with evidence he did not buy it from the previous government.
The vehicle was locked down when he showed up at the Flagstaff House. It was later discovered the vehicle does not belong to the state.
Mr. Livingstone is demanding that “such conduct be curbed to safeguard the esteem and public goodwill towards the official residence of the President and Commander In Chief.”
The Taskforce on Retrieval of State Asset was established by government in February to retrieve vehicles and other properties in possession o the officials of the previous administration.
It comprises of representatives from various government agencies including the Office of the President, Bureau of National Investigations, and police service among others.
Below is the full petition.
I humbly write, as a civic duty and personal responsibility, to petition your office over an episode of unwarranted harassment and threats to my person and property by persons associating their actions with ‘Flagstaff House’. By all means, such conduct must be curbed to safeguard the esteem and public goodwill towards the official residence of the President and Commander In Chief.
Specifically, I hereby demand superior intervention to clarify the merit or basis of my embarrassing interdiction on the highway and subsequent emotional assault and intrusive calls and threats to my person by a gang led by Evans Agyei Mensah as the attached detailed account show.
Beyond my personal grievance, this petition also serves to highlight the slippery slope and inherent risks in tolerating or giving licence to non-state actors to intrude into the rights and privacy of compatriots; among them:
- Violations of the cardinal tenets of democracy – the rule of law and due process;
- Corrupt tendencies and creeping loss of confidence in democratic institutions;
- Fostering a mindset of unbridled power and entitlement among persons not restrained by professional discipline, which easily degenerates into criminal banditry;
- Progressive subversion of democratic systems and traditions, social cohesion, and national stability.
- Negatively impact the treasured image of Ghana as a peaceful haven of democracy.
Even more, the founding philosophy and Motto of the NPP affirms ‘Development in Freedom’ clearly signalling unfettered respect for individual enterprise and enthronement of private sector leadership of the economy. Such random persecution and disruptive demands on executive time and emotions of a Corporate Executive are at variance with the cherished traditions of the ruling party.
Where, indeed, government is prosecuting a campaign to recover vehicle assets in such manner as likely to trigger incidents such as this, there must be clear prior communication of such effort in the media, clearly alerting the public with relevant details and guidelines.
In such instance, the emotional trauma of being accosted mid-journey is likely abated by foreknowledge. A Complaints or instant Verification Desk/Contact may also be available for resort by affected persons.
Whatever the case, it is unacceptable and undeserving at this stage of our development for a Chief Executive of a respected financial institution to be subjected to the harrowing experience I have been.
No respectable citizen should be subjected to any such treatment, and government owes and must ensure this as its responsibility to loyal constituents.
I do not demand an apology from your office but I hope the cited persons, where subsequently enlightened, will act appropriately in this direction and revert even while improving their operational manners in dealing with others in their assigned public role.
Summary of Events
On Saturday, 12 May 2017, about 09:15GMT, while I was on my way to a corporate training, I was signalled to stop by a gang in a white unbranded pickup vehicle at the Old Barrier at Weija.
Due to the suspicious nature of their action, I ignored their instruction and continued driving. They then sped passed me and a man in a police uniform (no name tag) ordered me to park. I wondered what my offence could have been as I’m a careful Britain-trained driver. I obliged and parked but did not come out of the car.
The police officer and a gentleman, who introduced himself as Evans Agyei Mensah, asked me to hand over my land cruiser to them. According to them, my car is a government vehicle. They could not provide any tangible basis for this assertion other than stating that the car looks so.
Not to waste my time further for the meeting, I gave them my business card and requested to meet them at the Flagstaff House on Monday, 15 May 2017 at 10:00GMT. I then contacted my colleagues at the Flagstaff House to ascertain the identity of Evans Agyei Mensah as a member of staff of the house of the President.
However, all checks proved futile. I, therefore, declined to honour the appointment. Instead, I sent an SMS to Mr Agyei Mensah requesting to send my vehicle’s VIN and engine numbers so that they can verify from DVLA or GRA. This apparently infuriated them, resulting in abusive language, inundation of phone calls and a threat of coming to take the car by force.
Yesterday, 16 May 2017 about 10:00 am a gentleman by name Daniel Skillo (as it sounds), apparently, a staff of the Office of the President, confirmed that Mr. Evans Agyei Mensah is one of the “boys” in the government cars recovery task force.
The “boys” have given me up to 10:00 am today, 17 May 2017 to bring the car and the original documents to the Flagstaff House of face their wrath.