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The ‘Missing’ Cars Saga; Another Ghanaian Circus?
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From the BBC’s to the Sun, to the Tribune, to Nehanda Radio to the Daily Nation and all international networks, the story went thus, “Ghana's new government is trying to track down more than 200 cars missing from the president's office, a government spokesman has said. The ruling party counted the cars a month after taking power following victory in December's elections”

The Sun’s lead was, “A fleet of over 200 motors mysteriously disappeared after President Akufo-Addo’s election in December. The new leader has been reduced to using just ONE 10-year-old BMW for his official business. Among the 208 state-owned cars is 122 Toyota Land Cruisers, 13 Mercedes and four BMWs, his office said.”

Sometimes I am ‘forced’ to think and possibly and ask whether we are a nation of ‘feeble minded’ people. Seems Ghana is one nation with people with some intellectual pedigree but we always end up acting as though these intellectualism is only captured on an A-4 sheet called a certificate.

Presidential spokesman Eugene Arhin told the media recently that there are 208 cars unaccounted for at the Flagstaff House’s vehicle pool following the change in government. He said that officials could only find:
• 74 of the presidency's 196 Toyota Land Cruisers
• 20 of the 73 Toyota Land Cruiser Prados
• 11 of the 24 Mercedes
• Two of the 28 Toyota Avalons
• Two of the six BMWs.

If vehicles numbering over 200 belonging to the presidency cannot be accounted for and this was after the elections, then what about vehicles in other state and para-state institutions?

The issue trending should be looked holistically – both within and without or we all end up just imagining and believing things our own ways. The questions begging for answers go to the following:

The Transition Team and Committees
First there was a Transitional Team before the inauguration of the president and for the first time in our transitional process, we had some decorum and Ghana scored higher marks for that. Was there a Sub-Committee established by both parties in the transitional process – outgoing and incoming governments - to look into issues to do with state assets including vehicles?

Did the Committee just took documents and appended as per receipt? Were there any physical verification and/or authenticity of the said assets? Did the Committee so established undertake any due diligence before endorsing whatever documents were given? The Committee would eventually report to the Transitional Team. What was captured in the Transition Team’s final report concerning vehicles? I think the Transition Team and especially the Committee will do Ghanaians a lot of good by telling us in black and white what happened than allow our name to be smeared in the mud to the outside world.

As the law says he who alleges must prove such allegation.

The Presidency
Is it true that H.E. President Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo is using his own vehicle? – 10-year BMW car? Why? During the inauguration, the President and the Vice President came to the Independence Square in some vehicles. Was that their personal vehicles?

These are important questions because there should be a reason for President Akuffo Addo to be using his own vehicle – a 10-year-old BMW to undertake official duties. In fact if it is true, his aids should be asked a lot of questions. Ordinarily, most, people will not use their vehicle for 10 years and still hold on to them sometimes even for leisure. This is OUR PRESIDENT, the first gentleman of the land, whose health, security, welfare and all is paramount because anything untoward and the whole nation can be thrown into chaos.

Are we comfortably saying and allowing, the President to use a ten year old vehicle for official duties? Well if the president is so much in love with his car, he might use it for some leisure and even that must be regulated but to allow him to use that vehicle for official duties is DANGEROUS and PREPOSTEROUS

The Out-gone Government
Now the out-gone government is also outside ‘pissing’ into the matter. Their stance is they did all necessary documentations and handed those assets to the new government. They are even extending the allegations to the fact that officials of the new government are using this as a ploy to ‘grab’ and possess the said vehicles so it leaves the government no choice but to import new ones.

Did they on their part undertook due diligence of all vehicles not only those of the presidency but all other state-owned assets correctly and are sure they can be applauded for that? What about these fairly brand new 2016 registered cross country vehicles and pick-ups found in the possession of some of their members? Were they bought from the state as they may claim? Was it rightfully done?

The Administrator General is saying he wrote and followed up for his office to be resourced so as to undertake the job in contention now to which they NEVER acted. Was that a plan to ensure we find ourselves where we are today? – That anybody could grab a state car(s) and possess it?

He who seeks equity must do equity. Are the members of the NDC willing to concede, recognize and admit equitable right of Ghanaians in terms of the job they did?

The Administrator General
In November 2016, the office of the Administrator General announced that they have been able to collate information on 18,000 vehicles in the various ministries, metropolitan, municipal, district assemblies, agencies and independent organizations.

The information collated was about the vehicles’ model, their make, chassis number, year of purchase, registration number and the users of those vehicles.

Is this information available? Is it in the possession of the government?

The Administrator General has been very busy for the past week trying to explain issues without success. I pity him because I am wondering when the media and Ghanaians found their voices on the work of the Administrator General.

Somewhere last year, in an interview, the man lamented lack of needed resources to manage the office. He went on to say how he has written time without number to the presidency asking for his office to be resourced to ensure smooth work to no avail.

As usual with Ghanaian media, after some two ‘noise making,’ we went to sleep. In fact no one tried and attemptted to ask the appropriate quarters why the office had been left on its own without support. Fast track to ‘missing cars’ saga and everybody’s attention has been drawn the office with accusations and blames.

Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘To sin by silence when they should protest makes COWARDS of men.’ Mr Administrator General, if you had been a bit proactive with the issues confronting your office and had possibly decided to resign and/or pushed a bit harder, we would have been out of this mess now. Mr David Yaro, you sinned by not protesting because. As we sit now, it is clear that some of the vehicles would never be found. Remember what you were able to do was to gain INFORMATION on some 18,000 vehicles for which you could not verify and that in itself can allow any mischievous person to play through it.

The Way Forward
There is a Task Force in place and we expecting that they do some work to retrieve most of the vehicles. Also maybe Ghanaians must begin to debate and proffer ideas on how the handling, sale and disposal of state assets should be made

The Writer is the Executive Director,
Private Investors’ Protection Agency (PIPA)
a Communications Expert and Lecturer

Source: Kwame Apau

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