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17.03.2009 Politics

Presidency clarifies issues surrounding ex-President Kufuor’s office complex

By gna

The Presidency said on Monday that although former President John Kufuor formally requested to use a state bungalow at Ridge in Accra as his offices, he had been using the facility before he made the request.

A statement signed by Presidential Spokesperson Mahama Ayariga stated that although President John Atta Mills accepted in principle the need for his predecessor to have an office, government had not formally consent to his continued use of the facility.

Below is the full text of the statement: “There has been some controversy surrounding Ex-President Kufuor's use of an office facility at Ridge prior to any formal allocation by Government of any facility to him for use as an office accommodation and the Presidency wishes to set the records straight.

“Mr. Paul Victor Obeng did have some conversation with members of the out-gone New Patriotic Party (NPP) government's transition team during which there was an informal intimation that the ex-President would like to use the said facility as his office accommodation.

“Mr. P. V. Obeng in fact promised to discuss the matter with the President and get them a confirmation and also expressed optimism that it was an achievable arrangement.

“When P.V Obeng mentioned the request by Ex-President Kufuor to President Mills, the latter asked Mr. P.V Obeng to tell ex-President Kufuor to put it in writing. President Mills accepted in principle the need to make arrangements for the ex-President to have access to an office facility.

“Subsequently, Mr. P. V Obeng invited Ex-President Kufuor's team to two (2) meetings aimed at advancing discussions regarding their request to use the facility as an office for the Ex-President but they failed to turn up at all the two (2) meetings.

“On 11th March 2009 the Office of the President received a formal request for the use of the facility from the Office of Ex President Kufuor. This request was dated 5th February 2009.

“It is not in doubt that ex-President Kufuor was already in occupation of the facility even before the informal and subsequent formal request to use the facility. Also, the Government of Ghana has not formally communicated to the office of Ex-President Kufuor any consent to the continued use of the facility as his office accommodation.

“In the light of the above facts, the Government finds it deliberately misleading and malicious, the report of the Daily Guide of March 16th 2009 that persons close to the Mills government have politically orchestrated a controversy surrounding ex-President Kufuor's use of the office facility because President Mills has given his blessing to the use of the facility.

“President Mills accepted the need to make arrangements to enable the ex-President have access to an office facility and authorized P.V Obeng to carry through a process that would ensure that. To avoid controversies such as the one we are involved in now, the President requested that everything should be formal and evidenced in writing.

“He did not communicate approval of the use of any specific building by the ex-President. In any case, the members of ex-President Kufuor's team failed to attend all the two (2) meetings scheduled to discuss the request with Mr. P. V. Obeng.

“The “BROUHAHA” that greeted ex-President Kufuor's decision to use the facility at Ridge, where Hon Hawa Yakubu used to reside, as his office accommodation even before he left office was not orchestrated by any person close to President Mills' government but rather by ex-President Kufuor's spokesperson, Mr. Frank Agyekum who presented to the public several conflicting versions of how ex-President Kufuor came by the office facility.

“He first asserted that they purchased the building and subsequently said no payment was made and finally claimed it was given to them by President Mills.

“The issue was not made any easier to comprehend by the fact that ex-President Kufuor had in fact started using the facility even before the informal and the subsequent formal request to the Government of Ghana to use it.

“The Government of Ghana will not orchestrate anything to embarrass any ex-president for any reason.

“Mr. Koku Anyidoho spoke on Joy FM on this matter but he mainly read the letter received by Government on 11th March 2009 but dated 5th February 2009 containing a request from the Office of ex-President Kufuor to use the said facility as an office accommodation.

“Mr Koku Anyodoho wanted to establish two facts which were the subject of controversy during that radio programme.

“First, that Government had received a letter on 11th March 2009 from Ex-President Kufuor's office making the request; and second, that no one at the Presidency had formally responded to the request even though the ex-President was already in occupation of the facility as his office accommodation and had indicated in the letter that he had taken a decision to use the facility even before the expiry of his term of office on 7th January 2009 as president.

“As the Spokesperson of President Mills I never, prior to the Daily Guide's publication, granted an interview to Daily Guide on this matter, neither have I publicly or privately spoken with any member of the public or the media about ex-President Kufuor's use of the facility. This is contrary to Daily Guide's false and obviously maliciously intended mischief of stating in their story that I and Koku Anyidoho reprimanded the former President.

“Furthermore, Daily Guide has blatantly lied when it reports that I claimed that the request came barely a week ago. This is because prior to this statement I never spoke about this matter during which I made any revelations as Daily Guide purports.

“I hope that this statement settles the matters of fact misrepresented in the Daily Guide report in their 16th March 2009 publication.”