Official purpose cars ordered on 3rd January 2017 by former President of Ghana; John Dramani Mahama finally arrived in the country. The order, made by the former president had received heated political criticism at the time.
The vehicles were reported to have arrived by fright cargo in early February, this year. The cargo included Toyota Land Cruisers, BMW, and Mercedes S600 Benzes. The order was originally valued at $9.1 million and included 43 special cars. Among them were ambulances and communication squadron vehicles. However, the new government under New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by Akufo Addo Led successfully managed to renegotiate the terms of the contract. The contract cost was later reduced to $8.8 million. The new government also managed to reduce the vehicles from 43 to 34.
The funds that had already been paid for the nine additional vehicles was used to procure a 100 Toyota Corolla cars which will be used by the Ghana Police Service (GPS). The new government came out to defend itself for carrying on with the deal through the Minister of Information, Mustafa Hamid. Mr. Hamid said that the contract was binding, therefore, repealing it would cost the government significant liabilities. The agreement had been signed with Amalgamated Securities Limited.
The minister said that the government would renegotiate contractual terms where the other party agreed. He cited the Education Ministry contract as an example. The government managed to negotiate a textbook printing contract valued at GHShs134 million to GHShs89 million.
Additionally, the Minister of Finance had asked for an audit in government liabilities by the Auditor General. The inspection revealed that GHShs5.4 billion in legacy debts was questionable. Mr. Hamid said that further investigations on the matter would be carried out. Mr. Hamid said that the new government was fully committed to protecting public funds and ensuring that they were used for the people’s benefits.
The former president had made the contract at a time when he had only three days to leave office after being ousted in elections by the current president. The vehicles were supposed to be delivered in 60 days after which payment would be made as per the terms of the then contract. However, the contract was not fulfilled due to unresolved challenges. The contract was sighed under the former Deputy National Security Coordinator, Alhaji Salifu Osman. Mr. Osman is currently facing a $4 million National Communications Authority (NCA) scandal trial.
The vehicles will be used by the top government officials including the president and his deputy, their wives and the presidential press corps. The cars consist of Mercedes Benzes which are bulletproof. However, the new government acknowledged that there was a need to re-stock the presidential fleet. The official presidential car was a ten-year-old BMW that broke down in severally and attracted high costs of servicing. At times, the president had to use his vehicles making him vulnerable to security threats.