The Director in charge of Protocol at the Osu Castle, Mr. Victor Emmanuel Smith, has given a strong warning to former government officials to return state vehicles in their possession to avoid being arrested by the police. According to him, despite numerous directives that former government officials should hand over state vehicles in their possession if they had not legally
"I will advise that those who have gone to hide the state cars should return them before we apprehend them since it is a criminal offence," he said. He expressed concern over how the government is still battling with retrieving state vehicles from the ex-government officials.
Mr. Victor Smith was speaking in a telephone interview with this reporter, who sought his views on the directive that the former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, should surrender the three BMW cars in his possession in exchange for three Chryslers. According to him, President Kufuor could not be blamed for taking the cars which belonged to the VVIP Protection Unit of the presidency, but was quick to add that he trusted Mr. Kufuor to return them.
Stating that there was no time limit for the directive, he said "I believe that he will do the honourable thing to return the vehicles. He cannot be blamed.
He may have been ill-advised by some people because those cars belong to the VVIP Protection unit of the presidency."
He continued that "Those cars were bought specifically for the VVIP protection Unit. We did not expect the President to take it away."
Mr. Smith, the former Special Aide to ex President Jerry John Rawlings said it was wrong for anyone to take away cars meant for security details at the office of the presidency.
"He cannot take state vehicles and assign it to himself. Those cars are security vehicles at the VVIP unit. In any case, it is the current President who decides or determines what cars should be used by ex-Presidents, and it was not the ex-Presidents who decide on what cars they will use," he argued.
According to him, President Mills was not ready to use state money to buy more vehicles whilst there are cars available for his use. He said convenient transport arrangement had been made for the former President, pending the final determination of the Chinery-Hesse Report.
Mr. Smith contended that the three Chrysler cars to be provisionally given to Mr. Kufuor were not simple cars and dismissed the assertion of variation of what the former President already has.
The presidency over the week-end forwarded a letter to former President Kufuor to return three BMWs in his possession.