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Opinions of Friday, 2 September 2011

Columnist: Agbenyo, Samuel Kofi

Re: Minister's luxury BMW impounded by Castle.

I wish to quickly respond to a newspaper report by the Republic posted at your website about the Hon. Joe Gidisu, the minister for Roads and Highways and set the record straight as it were for all well meaning Ghanaians to compare the story as I will tell it with the version the paper has put out there.

To start with, even though I am not an employee of the Road ministry, as the miniter’s constituency secretary and also his research assistant posted by NSS for the 2010/2011, I am well placed to let Ghanaians know the truth about this matter. The minister as we all know him and for that matter whoever knows him very well, will attest to the fact that the minister is someone who always live the modest life. He is actually the kind of person who is always cautious in whatever he does and always questions himself about what society will say about his conduct. This is a conduct of him that endears those of us closer to him and we always try to emulate him.

The minister is one Member of Parliament who has never occupied any government bungalow and even when he became a minister, he still commutes from and to his house at Klagon near Ashiaman for work everyday. This attitude is borne out of his modest lifestyle and the believe that those facilities should be given to appointees who do not have house in Accra, and this action is again based on the fact of his belief that those positions are not permanent and one day he will not occupy them, this will save him the trouble of packing out.

Furthermore, about the said BMW car, the story as it is being told by the paper is a palpable lie which needed to be ignored. I want to ask if any person has ever seen the minister use a saloon car. This man has his own car before entering parliament. However, when the opportunity availed itself for MPs to purchase their own cars through a loan facility, he went for a Cherokee. This choice was based on the fact that he is from a rural constituency, thus, needed a kind of vehicle that can run on those rough roads. He used that car until another opportunity came when he went for a Nissan patrol. He quickly sold the Cherokee. When he assumed the position as a minister, he was given an official duty car, a Toyota land cruiser, V8, with registration number GT 1905-09 which he was using until that car developed fault and was relocated for repairs. For the fact that the work must go on, the ministry assigned him a new car, a Toyota land cruiser, also a V8 with registration number GT 642-10, which is a car at the ministry for use by directors when they are on inspection. This is the car he has been using till date. This fact is at the ministry for all persons who care to know, to have it.

About the said BMW, what actually transpired is that the ministry at a management meeting decided to purchase another duty car for the minister as a standby duty car to augment the other one as a result of the fact that the minister is always on the go across the country inspecting, cutting sod, commissioning projects. Also as all readers may have observed, the minister is one of the ministers who is always with the president anytime he is on tour of the country , thus , he needed a standby car that he could quickly use when the other one develop fault.

The minister was amazed when he was shown a BMW saloon car that was purchased for him.He said it plainly in a letter that the car was too expensive and too luxurious for his use and said he was not going to use it and has never use it. He quickly reported this case to the president and castle has given him a new car. The minister did not write the said after he was reprimanded as the paper is making us to believe. The said car has never entered the minister’s house at Klagon, and that the car has never been towed from Klagon to castle as the paper put it, unless the reporter wants us to believe now that there is another house of the minister which I may not know of and it was from that house that car was towed. It is very sad that we have journalists parading our street concocting stories and putting them on people to make the public believe what they are putting out. It will have been better for the paper to contact the minister for his version of the story and put that visa avis what he was reporting for the general public to make their own judgment. For the fact that the story is not what the paper wants the general public to believe, it has put its own side out without the version from the minister or from the ministry. I want to appeal to the general public that the paper has no further revelation to make about this matter, and should be ignored. I do not think that paper has any credibility left in it to put out anything further on this story. Again, I edge all persons who want to know the truth about this matter should get to the ministry and have complete documentation on the said vehicle, and that person will be very clear in his or her mind about what the truth is about this matter.

Samuel Kofi Agbenyo,

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