The President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe has charged the government to publish details of the contract with Amalgamated Securities Limited for the purchase of some luxury vehicles for the presidency, which it claims was renegotiated.
The contract for the purchase of the cars, which arrived on a Global African Airlines cargo plane, was awarded by the John Mahama administration barely a week before they left office in 2017.
[contextly_sidebar id=”kjgtlE1bwJH0GxEJ3WJNVpGMG1Pv0czf”]Although the initial number of cars ordered was 43, the New Patriotic Party administration, which had attempted to cancel the entire contract but failed due to certain clauses, said it reduced the number to 34.
The government said the reduction in the number of vehicles to 34, consequently reduced the initial cost of 9 million dollars by about $300, 000.
The Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid told the media that government had not abrogated the contract because of the fear of incurring a judgement debt adding that the money saved from renegotiating the contract was used to procure a hundred cars for the Police Service.
Franklin Cudjoe, however, believes that though the move is commendable, the government must publish full details of the contract to allay doubts over its credibility.
“It is better for the government to publish exactly what contracts they are reviewing, the sums of those contracts and let us know what decision they are making thereof from those contracts. It is one part saying you have reviewed the contracts and it is another saying in view of that, you have used some of the gains to purchase some cars for some other parts of government [in this case the Police], which is good news by the way but if you do not ease the schedule of these reviews that you are undertaking people may start poking holes into some of the responses.”
Franklin Cudjoe further tasked government to put in place effective procurement mechanisms at the presidency to prevent the recurrence of contract reviews by successive governments.
“It will be better for us to get proper procurement procedures in place especially at the Flagstaff House. The challenge with some of these issues is because a lot of these decisions are taken at the seat of government, IMANI has always argued that dealing with waste and corruption starts at the office of government machinery… We need to have a very serious process of procurement from the office of government machinery.”
Citi News had reported that Government over the weekend took delivery of 34 cars for the presidency, ten of which have bullet resistant exterior.
The contract for the presidential fleet was awarded by the John Mahama administration barely a week before they left office.
The original number of cars ordered was 43. The New Patriotic Party administration, which had attempted to cancel the entire contract but failed due to certain clauses in the contract, managed to reduce the number to 34.
Back in June 2017, some NDC officials accused the NPP administration of playing double-standards, after news about the presidential fleet emerged, despite an order by President Nana Akufo-Addo, halting the purchase of new vehicles.
The government then explained that it could not be blamed for the presidential fleet because the order had already been placed by John Dramani Mahama administration before they exited office after the elections in 2016.
‘NPP wanted the cars’
Former NDC appointees including Dr. Clement Apaak, who worked at the presidency, suggested that the cars were ordered upon the request of the NPP government during the transition period, a claim the government vehemently denied.
Dr. Apaak noted that, the Mahama administration agreed to the request by Nana Akufo-Addo’s side of the transition team because they had raised concerns about the incoming President’s security.
While the parties argued over the matter, Citi News sighted a letter signed by the then Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, authorizing the purchase.
This letter was signed two days before then-President; John Mahama, inaugurated the Presidential transition team, which he co-chaired with then President-elect, Nana Akufo Addo.
This revelation contradicted the NDC’s claims that the NPP made the request during the transition period.
Earlier documents sighted by Citi News revealed that, the contract for the new cars for the Presidency was specifically awarded by the Mahama government on the 3rd of January, 2017, to Amalgamated Security Services LTD.
The two-paragraph letter authorizing the purchase was dated December 9, 2016, whereas the transition team was officially inaugurated on December 11, 2016.
The letter noted that, the deal was authorized by the outgoing Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, to take note of the decision to purchase the 43 vehicles “for necessary action accordingly.”
The letter also clearly stated that, the outgoing government had “decided to acquire some vehicles for the incoming administration”.
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana