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18.02.2009 Editorial

Let the due process work


Ever since the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government assumed office, there have been series of reports about the seizure of cars and vehicles on suspicion that they belong to the state. Just last Monday, a Landcruiser vehicle belonging to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the just ended elections, was also seized under the same excuse.

Though the driver of the vehicle provided all the needed evidence to prove that the car belongs to Nana Addo, the security man who claimed he was acting upon instructions would not listen to him. The presidential spokesman, Mahama Ayariga later apologized to Nana Addo after realising that the car indeed belongs to the NPP flag bearer.

The government has every right to ensure that all state vehicles that are illegally found to be in the possession of past government officials are retrieved. The Chronicle is, however, not happy with the way the security agencies have been going about with the exercise.

As noted by Mr. Alex Segbefia, a leading member of the ruling party, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Police who are reportedly behind these seizures should have first put out public announcement warnings to all those who unlawfully are in possession of government vehicles and cars to surrender them to the appropriate department. If after publication of the announcement, certain individuals still continue to hold on to the cars, then security personnel can be sent to go and retrieve the cars and charge the culprits accordingly.

If the right approach had been taken in retrieving the cars and vehicles, nobody would have read political harassment into the whole exercise, because the due process of the law would have been followed. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening, but rather the reported cases of unlawful seizure of cars and vehicles of people. The Chronicle believes that if the security agencies had officially and diplomatically written to Nana Akufo-Addo on suspicion that the car he was using belongs to the state, we are sure he would have responded to them accordingly to clarify the matter, for an amicable settlement.

As we noted earlier, the security agencies may have a genuine case but the way they are going about it is rather tarnishing the image of the Atta Mills government, and they should change their mode of work for the better.

The fact that NPP did similar things during the last transitional period in 2001, does not justify what is going on at the moment. We must begin to forget the wrong things that went on in the past and move forward in unity. If the Castle has every reason to believe that cars being used by former government officials belong to the state, they must be written to, and force should only be applied where persuasion fails.

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