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Cars For The Boys!   
 
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21-Dec-2009  
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Mismanagement of confiscated cars at the Port of Tema, mired with politics and abused by party functionaries to the disadvantage of the state’s kitty, captured the headlines last week and expectedly, officialdom sought to read mischief in the motive of our reportage.

As always, the interest of the country informed our decision to seek and write the story which was enriched by the volunteering of valuable information and relevant documents by members of the public germane to the subject.

From the time Carl Wilson, Chairman of the Confiscated Vehicles Committee, went to a garage at Asylum Down to alter the colour of a confiscated car, to the time he went to Takoradi Port to move some vehicles to Accra, Ghanaians have not stood down their watch over his activities.

Carl Wilson was arrested briefly by security operatives who mounted a watch over his movement but expectedly, released almost immediately.

Credible information has it that there is a linkage between the Confiscated Cars Committee and some designated car dealership in Accra. If President Mills is unaware, let him wake up as this is happening under his nose.

To say the least, what has happened so far about the disposal of confiscated cars at the port is heart-breaking.

It behooves government to set good examples in the management of such ventures which are prone to corruption. We are also aware of a series of meetings being held to secure the bad practices away from prying eyes.

It is an acceptable practice to confiscate vehicles whose grace period for clearance elapses, and at a later date, dispose of these through the time-tested process of public auction.

The idea of confiscation of cars is to, by and large, instill some sanity in the vehicle importation regime. The importation of environmentally-unfriendly cars and even stolen cars both need some management, hence the confiscation clause.

For officialdom to turn around therefore and abuse measures put in place to ensure this required sanity, is a stab in our backs and cannot be acceptable.

Customs officials and others involved in the process could definitely be tempted to manouvre the process to make some money for themselves if clear cases of government abuse of the system abound.

When a vehicle attracts a duty of ˘180 million and eventually goes for 50 pesewas, the situation can only be described as unseemly.

For Alex Segbefia, Deputy Chief of Staff, to explain that this was a state-to-government department transaction, is to insult the intelligence of the Ghanaian.

That there has not been any public auction of confiscated vehicles since the Confiscated Cars Committee was reconstituted by the incumbent political administration is enough unusualness.

Cars hold a special place in the President John Evans Atta Mills government as manifested in the first few days when it assumed power.

There was almost chaos as party functionaries and newly-engaged security operatives fell over each other grabbing vehicles used by the outgoing public officials.

It was as though a coup had just taken place, and being undertaken haphazardly, many of the seizures turned out eventually to be criminal.

That the previously, almost uneventful system of disposing of confiscated cars has assumed a revenue-losing dimension to the state is not surprising.

Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Segbefia, while responding to the queries pertaining to the anomalies, showed without doubt that he was either unaware about the wanton malfeasance involved in the system or was lying between his teeth.

His defence of the chairman of the Confiscated Car Committee, Carl Wilson, sounded interesting to those who are conversant about the man’s activities, vis a vis his relationship with him.

We have seen flimsy documents pertaining to the allocation of vehicles to party people and are therefore at pains to reconcile the realities on the ground with the beautiful picture which Alex Segbefia tried to doodle for Ghanaians.

We are not oblivious to the recent directive by President Mills that NDC supporters, when they come knocking on the doors of government appointees, must receive priority.

The car largesse is one such opportunity to an already disillusioned party membership, we know, but ask that some finesse is applied in the assignment.

What is currently taking place cannot pass muster and adds to the litany of worst practices being witnessed in the Mills Government and we, as other Ghanaians, are gripped by consternation.

Soothing the anguish of the party boys by all means, including the doling out of confiscated vehicles, gratis, is inimical to the interest of the country.
 
 
Source: Daily Guide/Ghana
 
 

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