Ghana: ‘Missing’ gov't cars, disappointing Black Stars AFCON outing reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – A huge disagreement between the current and former governments over the whereabouts of state vehicles and the poor performance of the senior national football team, Black Stars, at the just ended 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Gabon were some of the stories highlighted by the media in Ghana this week.

The media also played up Ghana's arguments at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany, on the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and its western neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire.

The media have for some time been awash with stories of actions of supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and later an official task force set up by the Chief of Staff to retrieve “missing” vehicles in the possession of former government officials and assigns.

But the claim by the acting Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, that more than 200 state vehicles were “missing”, a situation which had compelled the President to use his own vehicle for official duties, has given a fresh angle to the stories.

The state-owned Graphic in a story under the headline, 'Mystery surrounding missing state vehicles deepens', reported that the Office of the Administrator-General of the Presidential Estates Unit (PEU) had underscored the need for the Presidency to exercise due diligence in efforts to find the more than 200 vehicles reported missing from the fleet of cars at the Presidency.

Mr David Yaro said the reporting format for taking stock of government vehicles, contained in the handover notes, was thorough enough to help find the "missing" vehicles.

Justifying the need for a task force to retrieve state assets, he proposed a more careful analysis of the notes to find the vehicles.

For instance, Mr Yaro said, from the notes, the Office of the President, made up of State Protocol, General Administration and VVIP, reported a total vehicle holding of 678.

Out of the number, State Protocol had 67 vehicles, General Administration, 41, and VVIP, 570.

With respect to the alleged missing vehicles, he said “all the vehicles were accounted for when he handed over details of the Presidency to the Transition Team”.

Mr Arhin’s claims have angered the former government with the former Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Johnny Osei, accusing the government of distorting facts on state vehicles that were handed over.

He said the claims by the government were “false, baseless and without merit and represented a continuation of the distortions and bad faith that had characterised the conduct of the (government) side of the Transition Team”.

Osei asked the government to publish the full list of all alleged missing vehicles, adding that allegations that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had been left without official vehicles and was using his personal vehicles for official duties was clearly his own choice.

He said: “Among the vehicles handed over to the (government) team were two bulletproof saloon cars and two bulletproof cross-country vehicles specifically dedicated to the use of the President...Added to this is a fleet of almost new Mercedes Benz vehicles. Surely, if President Akufo-Addo can use 10-year-old vehicles, he should be able to use vehicles that are relatively new and in good condition.”

'Ghana football must be overhauled', was the headline of the editorial of the Graphic on the poor performance of the Black Stars who ended the tournament in fourth place.

The Graphic said it was happy that Israeli trainer Avram Grant’s contract would not be renewed but added that the challenges of Ghana football were not only with the coach. “Players, administrators and, indeed, politicians have all helped in bringing us to the present state where Ghana football is in a state of decline.”

It argued that the process of constituting the Ghana Football Association (GFA) must be looked at again, “and if we agree that familiarity breeds contempt, then the leadership must take a cue and those at the helm of affairs must learn to exit when the applause is loudest”.

It noted that money was spent to run a local league and yet the players were not factored into the national team, adding that even when that was done, it became an afterthought or based on pressure from the public.

The Daily Graphic said that any coach or football administrator who would try the blend of local and foreign players would be on the road to reviving Ghana football.

'Uphold Ghana’s position on boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire — Gloria Akuffo', was the headline of the Graphic on the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire maritime dispute.

The story said the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo, had prayed the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany, to uphold Ghana’s position on the maritime boundary dispute.

“Ghana, respectfully, asks you to affirm the customary equidistance boundary as our maritime boundary. In carrying out your task, you are assisted by a wealth of maps and charts which set out this boundary and which have been made available to you,” she said.

According to Ms Akuffo, the case was “not that of maritime delimitation but rather a request to declare the existence of a boundary, to which the parties have themselves long agreed and delimited in practice and in consequence”.

“Ghana asks this Special Chamber not to be swayed by the rather extravagant case Cote d’Ivoire seeks to present here by relying on a bisector theory and its related maps to create a huge area as the so-called area in dispute,” the Attorney-General prayed the court in her opening address.
-0- PANA MA/AR 11Feb2017

11 february 2017 07:23:06

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