The Minister-designate for Bono-East region, Siaka Stevens, has backtracked on claims that the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government diverted 100 Mahindra vehicles to be used for party purposes.
Mr. Stevens had alleged that the vehicles were meant for the Education Ministry but were diverted by the Mahama administration to the NDC.
He claimed the Mahindra vehicles were supposed to be distributed to public schools but the NDC rather used them for campaign purposes in 2016.
The procured vehicles for the Ministry included 100 Nissan Navara pick-ups, 100 Mahindra pickups, 200 33-seater buses and 100 66-seater buses.
He further alleged that the $18 million that was to be paid to the company that brought the cars was not paid by the erstwhile NDC government.
“The 100 units Mahindra double cabin pick-ups were used to run their campaign activities. That is a misplacement of national resources and we are quiet about it
“They diverted the Mahindras to run their party activities in their constituencies. If you go there right now, all the double pick-up Mahindras were bought in the name of the Education Ministry,” Mr. Stevens claimed.
As Chairman of Parliament’s Education Committee, he said the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) had been alerted to investigate the issue.
However, the Minister-designate made a U-turn on his claims when he appeared before the Appointments Committee on Monday, March 18, 2019.
Asked by a member of the Committee, North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, if he was willing to stand by his earlier allegations, Mr. Stevens said “it was a misjudgment” and subsequently withdrew the claims.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ablakwa who was Deputy Education Minister at the time the vehicles were purchased denied all the allegations.
“And the version of pickups that the Education Ministry procured is different from the NDC’s and so you are wrong to say that it happened around the same time,” he said.
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