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17.03.2009 Politics

'Rawlings Keeps 2 Bullet-Proof Cars'

By Daily Guide
'Rawlings Keeps 2 Bullet-Proof Cars'

BMW Car THE NATIONAL Security Coordinator, Lt. Col. Gbevlo-Lartey (rtd) has been chastised over the recent choppy car seizure exercise masterminded by his office and  reminded that ex-President Rawlings maintains two bullet-proof vehicles.

The Coalition of Democratic Forces (CDF), a recently-established civil society grouping, made the charge and disclosure in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Ibrahim Nii Adjei.

The whole development, the statement claimed, is emitting negative signals to the international community to the detriment of the image of the country.

The latest round of car seizures was enacted at the residence of former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, where three luxury BMW cars were taken away by national security operatives.

Adding salt to injury, the National Security Coordinator is reported to have vowed to strip the former President of all security gadgets since according to him, only the incumbent head of state is entitled to these.

“The retrieval of the cars and the insulting behaviour of the National Security Coordinator do not augur well for the nation,” the statement point out.

Recalling the past, the Coalition noted that it took almost a year for ex-President Rawlings to return some of the state cars in his possession, after the transition of power in 2001, adding that “he was allowed the discretion to decide on which cars out of the 13 in his possession to return.”

Ex-President Rawlings, the statement went on, kept two bullet-proof cars, among others, for his personal use and never left a single bullet proof for his successor.

The defence for the action put up by Mr. Victor Smith, head of protocol at the Presidency, that the retrieved cars are meant to serve the presidency since there is no money to purchase new ones has been described by the Coalition as a lame duck explanation.

“Wasn't it Mr. Victor Smith, the same personal assistant to former President Rawlings, who authored a letter to the Kufuor administration in 2001, stating the number of cars that former President Rawlings would return and those they would keep? What then dictates this novel situation as implied by him?” the statement asked.

The grouping found it ironic that “in a year (2001) in which Ghana was declared HIPC, the State was able to afford the upkeep of vehicles for a former President and now with an improved economic situation we are unable to extend the same courtesy?”

Continuing, the Coalition stated that “we now have an anomalous situation in which former President Kufuor has no access or use of a bullet-proof vehicle, whereas ex-President Rawlings has the use and custody of two bullet proof cars. Is the life and well-being of one former president more precious than another?”

By A.R. Gomda