-to foot-soldiers as reward for handwork
Information reaching THE WITNESS indicates that the controversial Hyundai Gallopers vehicles parked at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) at Madina in Accra since 2001 has been auctioned by the Finance Ministry at a jaw-dropping price of five hundred Ghana cedis each.
In what could be described as the most staggering “sweetheart” deal the New Patriotic Party government has initiated so far, the vehicles, which were imported by African Automobile Limited at a trade-in value of US$396,000 each in 1999, was purposely given out to members of the governing party to pat them on the shoulder.
Reports are that when the Finance Ministry took a decision to auction the vehicles after abandoning it for almost 20 years, the leadership of the governing party engaged the sector Minister to allow the 86 vehicles to be gifted to some selected constituencies through NPP Members of Parliament.
“What they did was that, they engaged the NPP MPs, and told them to buy the vehicles for onward delivery to some selected constituencies. In constituencies where the MP did not show interest, constituency executives were contacted directly to pay for it. Depending on the state of the vehicles, they were sold at a rate between GHC500-GHC1500,” a source at the Finance Ministry disclosed to this paper on strict condition of anonymity.
During the recently ended limited voter registration exercise, some NPP constituency executives, particularly in Greater Accra, were spotted driving the vehicles either to convey people to the registration centres or to monitor the exercise. In Adentan for instance, the vehicle is being used by NPP constituency organizer same as the Obuase East constituency.
Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng, in a media interview in 2018 revealed government plans to dispose of the vehicles before the end of the year. According to Kweku Kwarteng, the government is concerned about the deteriorating situation of the vehicles, and is working hard to ensure that it gets some value from it whiles disposing them-off.
“We have gone to look at the vehicles. There were issues in court relating to those vehicles that in the past made it difficult for not just Customs Service, but government to proceed to dispose of those vehicles. But a lot of those matters have been resolved now and given the rate at which those vehicles are deteriorating, we have made the decision to dispose of them. We are looking to do that before the year closes. All of us feel concerned that the mere presence of those vehicles suggests to taxpayers that their monies will not be put to good use.”
Almost 20 years after the government procured them, the vehicles were not used for their intended purposes due to what some government officials have said is the challenge with paying the importers, African Automobile Limited (AAL).
As at 2012, the amount said to be demanded by the company was $1.5billion with reports suggesting a daily interest of GHs50 on each of the vehicle.
The vehicles were ordered by the Rawlings administration and arrived in the country in 2001. They were said to be intended for distribution to district assemblies but was abandoned by the Kufuor government over claims that AAL had no contract with government.
Source: THE WITNESS newspaper