National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislator for Asawase in the Ashanti Region, Muntaka Mubarak, says the current government is trying to score cheap political points by claiming that monies were saved when a deal to supply the Presidency with bulletproof vehicles was re-negotiated.
Information Minister, Mustapha Abdul Hamid, announced on Tuesday that government has reviewed the deal that was signed during the final days of the former administration and has decided to buy 34 of the vehicles, nine short of what was originally intended.
He said the Nana Akufo-Addo administration has decided to use the funds for the nine special vehicles to purchase 100 Toyota Corolla vehicles for the police service all at a cost lower than what the NDC government agreed with the suppliers.
The deal secured by the John Mahama administration with Amalgamated Securities Ltd would have cost the nation $9.1 million, but the re-negotiated cost – for the 34 special vehicles and 100 Toyota Corolla for the police – was pegged at $8.8 million.
However, commenting on the matter on Saturday, Muntaka said on Joy FM/MultiTV news analysis programme, Newsfile, that the claims by the government are laughable.
“When you say you have made savings from $9.1 million to $8.8 million...you make discerning people laugh at us politicians,” he said, arguing that the claim of scaling down the cost would have been justified had the original deal to procure 43 bulletproof vehicles been renegotiated at a lower cost.
“If [the current government] had maintained the same 43 vehicles and got it even at $9 million then I would say [they] made savings of $100,000 which would have been right,” he said.
In his view, the press conference held last Tuesday had the objective of giving the John Mahama administration that signed the deal a bad name.
The previous government has also been criticised for ordering the vehicles days to leaving office, with many saying the transaction was meant to tie the hands of the incoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.
But the Asawase MP explained that it cannot be the case that the deal to procure 43 luxury vehicles was signed within days since that would have been impossible.
“When we talk that way, it looks as if all you do when you are going to procure something is to just wake up, and that very, day you sign a contract.
“Remember procurement travels a very long haul. You have to advertise, do value-for-money. Before you get to contract-signing it is a long period so it just doesn’t happen,” he told show Samson Anyenini.
He has also cast doubts about the appropriateness of the Toyota Corolla vehicles purchased for the Police Service.
According to him, the Ghanaian terrain and the work of the police demand the use of more robust vehicles, stressing that even off-road vehicles have not been able to adequately serve the needs of the police.