What would have passed out as a bragging right for the Akufo-Addo government was on Wednesday, boycotted by senior ministers’ in-charge of the country’s security, as well as the top hierarchy of the Police administration, including the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante-Appeatu.
Government three days ago, presented a total of 105 vehicles as part of retooling the Ghana Police Service to combat crime in the country, but there are fears that government, as well as the Police administration, would rather leave the cars to gather dust and rust, while the state finds money to settle its US$9.1 million indebtedness to Amalgamated Security Service Limited owned by one Joseph Kwabena Boateng-Aidoo.
The presentation of the car to the Police Service, was done by a jittery looking-Deputy Minister of Information with the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery and his Deputy, Henry Quartey, the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, Bryan Acheampong, minister of State at the National Security and Brigadier General Emmanuel Okyere, National Security Advisor, staying away from the event.
The Director-General /Public Affairs Directorate, ACP David Senanu Eklu, who received the vehicles from Nana Dokua Asiamah-Adjei on behalf of the Police Administration at the Police Headquarters Operations in Accra, stated that the vehicles would be used as expected of the Service.
The Deputy Minister of Information, announced that 95 more of the vehicles would be arriving this evening, making a total of 200 vehicles for the Ghana Police service.
The 105 vehicles supplied made up of Toyota Corolla and Camry, The Herald is informed were part of the vehicles gotten from the renegotiated 43 specialized security cars bought for President Akufo-Addo, Vice-President Dr. Bawumia, their spouses and security details.
But strangely, both the Presidency and the Police Service, refused to take delivery of the cars until Wednesday, when the police did after a long battle between it and the suppliers, although same institution, had been complaining about lack of tools to fight crime.
The police cars since March this year, were left at the Tema Habour, because the government does not want to go near it.
Strangely, the 34 vehicles, including bullet proof ones some of which have been allotted to the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, have also been left at the car park of the National Security Secretariat popularly called Castle Annex or Blue Gate rusting away.
The cars, including Mercedes Benz saloon cars, arrived on a Global African Airlines cargo plane many months ago, but The Herald is informed that, the President was also yet to use any of them for his official duties.
In February this year, then-Minister of Information, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, explained to journalists at a press conference that the Akufo-Addo government renegotiated the terms of purchase of some 43 VIP fleet meant for the Presidency, to make room for the purchase of 100 Toyota Corollas.
The Mahama administration upon agreement with the incoming Akufo-Addo government, ordered the bullet-proof cars at a cost of $9.1 million on January 3, 2017, days before handing over power after the 2016 polls. This was because conventionally a new President, hardly use the official vehicle used by his predecessor.
There was, however, a storm after the Akufo-Addo government refused to use the cars, following a public outcry because it had promised austerity measures. The deal was renegotiated with the police administration cars getting 200 cars to fight crime but strangely, they have refused to take the cars and use them.
It is not clear, whether the 105 police Toyata cars attracted demurrage at the Tema Habour and who pays for them.
At that press conference last year, Dr Abdul-Hamid said:“I hereby report to the Ghanaian people, through you, that government has accepted the VIP fleet, having come to the conclusion that: 1. Government is bound by the terms of the contract signed with Amalgamated Securities Limited.
“2. Abrogating the contract may incur significant liabilities for government. In doing so, government has, however, made sure to obtain maximum gain for the public purse and also for ensuring the security of the state”.
He said:“We have renegotiated the terms of the contract in the following manner: 1. We have reduced the number of vehicles ordered from 43 to 34, which is nine short of the original number. 2. In place of the nine, we have acquired 100 Toyota Corolla cars for use by the Police Service in line with our commitment to retool the Police Service to enable them play effectively, their role of protecting the Ghanaian people. 3. We have done all this with a total amount of 8.8 million United States Dollars”.
Dr. Hamid, explained that, with the risk of a judgement debt hanging over its head, government renegotiated with Amalgamated Securities Limited, purchasing only 34 of the initially agreed 43 cars, saving about three hundred thousand dollars in the process.
With the vehicle not in use, it is clear government might not pay Amalgamated Security Service Limned, thus landing itself in a lawsuit and huge judgment debt awarded the company.