General News of Wednesday, 11 January 2017
Former President John Dramani Mahama
Special aide to Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Frank Agyekum, has said granting former President John Mahama’s request of maintaining his official residence as his retirement home is not a bad idea.
Frank Agyekum explained that, considering the status of an ex-president, such a facility will be fit for him.
A letter signed by former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, dated December 19, 2016, requested that the NPP administration allows Mr. Mahama to keep the current bungalow he occupies.
“Reference our (Osafo-Marfo/Debrah) discussion of 19th December, 2016 on the above-stated subject, we wish to indicate that H.E. President John Dramani Mahama would like to have bungalow No. 3, Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra and its adjoining facilities as his official retirement home.” “H.E. also wishes to have Bungalow No.6, 3rd Avenue, Ridge, Accra as his office. We count on your usual cooperation in this matter,” the letter added.
Many have however criticized the President’s request, arguing that it is unlawful and contravenes the Presidential Transition Act.
But speaking to Citi News, Frank Agyekum said giving President Mahama the house will not be out of place.
“The most important thing is that, the president has an input as to where he wants to be housed and the example that I can give is Rawlings, who decided to be where he is today. It was his choice to live where he is today so in the same manner, I believe that President Mahama must have a place where he wants to live. I think it is just proper”.
He was however quick to add that, “it is for the government to decide whether they would want to give it to him or not…”
Kufuor’s pension house still outstanding
Meanwhile Mr. Frank Agyekum has said that, the official residential accommodation that is supposed to be offered former President John Agyekum Kufuor as part of his retirement package still remains outstanding eight years after he left office in January 2009.
Two houses at Trasacco in Accra which were offered to former Presidents John Kufuor and John Rawlings during President J.E.A. Mills’ era, were rejected by the two former Presidents on grounds that they were not consulted before the buildings were constructed for their inputs and preferences as custom demands.
Since then, apart from an office accommodation which has been given to Mr. Kufuor at Cantonments in Accra, that of his official residential accommodation as constitutionally stipulated remains outstanding, Mr Frank Agyekum said in an interview on Accra-based Asempa FM.
In line with the Presidential Committee on Emoluments report, when President Kufuor left office in 2009, he indicated he preferred a bungalow at Cantonments in Accra to be used as an office, and another as his residency, but that request was rejected by the then President J.E.A. Mills administration.
After a rancorous ejection from the state facility initiated by a group of some young men, Mr. Kufuor was later offered another bungalow at Cantonments to be used as his office.
He has since been operating from there and using his Airport West home as his official residence.
According to Mr. Agyekum, in 2001, following the Greenstreet Presidential Committee on Emoluments report, former President Rawlings for instance was allowed to make a preference for his residential accommodation and office, and he chose two bungalows at Ridge.
Similarly, he thinks Mr Kufuor should have been allowed to make a preference after the Chinery Hesse report in 2009.