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General News of Monday, 13 February 2017

Source: classfmonlibe.com

Missing cars: 'Media spin unholy' – Sam George


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Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George Nartey, has accused the media of mischief over comments he made that some of the vehicles the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government purports to be missing were sold to some members of the erstwhile John Mahama administration.

There is currently a back-and-forth between the Akufo-Addo government and the erstwhile Mahama administration concerning the number of state vehicles left at the presidency after the president’s press secretary, Eugene Arhin, revealed that 208 state cars were missing. The former government subsequently released a statement on Thursday saying it left behind 641 cars and dared the new government to point out the alleged missing ones.

Mr Nartey, commenting on the issue on The Big Issue on Citi FM Saturday, 11 February, suggested that a total of 271 vehicles were sold and 370 cars handed over to the new government.

“A number of my colleagues chose to buy their car but I for personal reasons declined to buy. I returned my car to the Director of Logistics at the Office of the presidency. We have put out a list of 641 vehicles; we handed, if my memory is right, 370 vehicles to the Asset and Logistics Committee,” he said.

“I spoke to the outgone Director of Logistics who was a political appointee who was responsible for the fleet. …He said we handed over 370 vehicles. These vehicles were physically inspected by the Assets Committee led by lawyer Ayikoi Otoo.

“…There is a disparity between 370 and 641; this is because 271 saloon cars were purchased by staffers who had put in a request to purchase vehicles which were two years and above."

However, in a late post on Facebook on Sunday, 12 January, the former presidential staffer said while speaking on the show, he “made the point that it would be erroneous for anyone to assume that these 271 cars were missing as the documentation covering their auction and eventual sale were in the custody of the current government as part of handing over protocols”.

According to him, failure on the part of the media to make forcefully the point above “would imply that all 641 vehicles in the list were handed over and that colleagues who had legitimately bought their vehicles were illegally in possession of same. It would expose them to unnecessary attacks and seizure of lawfully acquired vehicles”.

“The spin that has been put by the media to suggest that I said the missing cars were bought is unfortunate and unholy to say the least,” the lawmaker added.

Below is the full post:

For the avoidance of any doubt and to clearly dispel the ongoing media sponsored mischief, I would state again everything I know and said about the vehicles.

1. The NPP Government spokesperson Eugene Arhin accuses the outgone NDC administration of having stolen 200 cars and that this has given rise to a situation where the President has to drive in a 10 year old BMW or his personal Land cruiser.

2. We had witnessed a Gestapo styled raid of homes of former appointees by known elements of the NPP backed by state security actors to seize privately owned vehicles in what can best be described as State sponsored thuggery and armed robbery. After public outcry, a hollow letter is issued to give some semblance of officialdom to the unfortunate happenings.

3. Former appointees (myself included) challenge Eugene Arhin and the government to put out the names of appointees holding on ILLEGALLY to any State vehicle. There is absolute silence from Government.

4. The former Deputy Chief of Staff puts out a statement also challenging proof of the claims by the current government and puts out a list of all 641 vehicles that were active under the past administration with vehicle type, chasis number, last known registration number and condition of car.

Now here comes my intervention and all the twists and turns by the cabal and the unfortunate impatience of some comrades to read between the lines and understand my comments. Below are all statements of FACT that I challenge anyone to dispute.

A. I made the point that the outgoing Government handed over 370 vehicles to the Assets and Logistics Committee chaired by Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo.

B. I suggested that the difference of 271 between the list of 641 put out and the 370 handed would represent vehicles which were active but had been auctioned off LEGALLY to both public and civil servants who worked in the Presidency. I indicated this was a convention and that it was restricted to saloon vehicles over 2 years old.

C. I again made the point that it would be erroneous for anyone to assume that these 271 cars were missing as the documentation covering their auction and eventual sale were in the custody of the current government as part of handing over protocols.

D. Failure to make forcefully the point I made in C above would imply that all 641 vehicles in the list were handed over and that Colleagues who had legitimately bought their vehicles were ILLEGALLY in possession of same. It would expose them to unnecessary attacks and seizure of LAWFULLY acquired vehicles.

E. The spin that has been put by the media to suggest that I said the missing cars were bought is unfortunate and unholy to say the least. These 271 cars were not in contention. The Government said they were looking for 200 cars. Not 271.

F. Eugene Arhin has put out a list of 173 vehicles which he claims were the only vehicles at the disposal of the new government. A casual look at the difference between the 370 handed over and the 173 vehicles gives you a figure much closer to 200 than the 271 vehicles I mentioned.

G. On the programme yesterday, I challenged Eugene Arhin's claim by pointing out that 6 bulletproof vehicles were handed over to the new Government - 2 Toyota Avalons, 2 Toyota Land cruisers and 2 BMW cars. Currently a 2013 registered bulletproof Toyota Avalon is being used by the Vice President. Strangely though a 2016 registered bulletproof Toyota Avalon which was used for less than a year by President Mahama has been abandoned and put in the General Pool. Same applies to the two 2016 registered bulletproof Land cruisers.

H. I asked how we could have these bulletproof vehicles placed in a General Pool and Ghanaians are told that there is no vehicle suitable for the transport of our President save a 10 year old BMW. This question came against the backdrop that 8 vehicles (2 Mercedes Benz, 2 Land cruisers, 3 Prados and 1 Patrol) have been assigned to the First Lady and 7 vehicles assigned to the Second Lady.

I do not seek the approval of the media. I seek only to put out the truth and point out the unrighteous vilification of former appointees of the previous administration by this Government aided by their media cabal. Comrades, I urge you to dispassionately read between the lines and deduce the truth. It is shocking that many Comrades now trust this same cabal because it may serve a certain purpose.

I maintain that after phone calls and challenges to the headline put out by citifmonline.com, they have changed the headline. That in itself does not cure the mischief but it is yet proof that the initial misleading headline was not well thought through and that the portions attributed to me and the voice clip attached (which has been edited to take out the questions asked by the Host and other comments) DO NOT support the assumption they seek to make.

I hold and maintain like I did on the Big Issue yesterday that there are no MISSING cars. This brouhaha is a ruse! Simple and short! How then can I claim purchase of something that I hold is nonexistent?

May posterity judge and vindicate my position.

SAMUEL NARTEY GEORGE (MP)

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