Vice Prez Amissah Arthur Moves To Flagstaff House


Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-ArthurVice Prez Amissah Arthur Moves To Flagstaff House

26 October 2012

Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur is expected to move into the Jubilee House or the Flagstaff by next week, reliable sources have told DAILY GUIDE.





The vice president’s relocation comes in the wake of his long spell in a makeshift office he has been occupying in the presidential property within the premises of the State House. The office was formerly used by the Senior Minister in the Kufuor-led Administration, J.H. Mensah.

When contacted, the presidential spokesperson, John Jinapor, confirmed the new arrangements to DAILY GUIDE on telephone, yesterday evening, saying, “I think it is true.”

It took some efforts before DAILY GUIDE could squeeze the confirmation from Mr Jinapor, who eventually passed the buck to the chairman of a committee tasked to advise President Mahama on the Jubilee House, Commodore Steve Obimpeh.

Attempts to reach Commodore Obimpeh as at press time proved futile.

President Mahama himself was made privy to this enquiry from DAILY GUIDE because at a point, John Jinapor told this paper that he was sitting right in front of the “boss” (referring to President Mahama), and thus pleaded for some more time to get the necessary clearance on the issue.

Avoiding Mills’s Office

Since ex-President John Evans Atta Mills’ demise in late July, President Mahama has operated exclusively from his old office, avoiding the Office of the President.

This has consequently displaced the vice president who is currently perching in an old office at the State House.

A stranded Amissah-Arthur is currently compelled to accept the temporary office at the State House because the office of the vice president in the Osu Castle is still being occupied by his boss.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that President Mahama had virtually refused to exit his old office since July 24 when he shed his vice presidential portfolio to become Ghana’s president following the untimely death of the then substantive president, John Evans Atta Mills.

It is unclear why President Mahama is avoiding his predecessor’s seat.

John Jinapor offered an explanation: “He is operating from the Castle, and there is not much difference [whether he is operating from the president or his vice’s office]. There is not much difference, honestly, I don’t know why, but I don’t think there is much difference.”

Stoking An Old Controversy

Indeed, former President Mills stated in no uncertain terms that he would only operate from the Jubilee House over his dead body.

The NDC contended that the over $80 million used to construct the imposing property was scandalous.

However, since becoming president, Mr Mahama’s stance towards the Jubilee House appears to have softened.

If he does, the move is expected to stoke some more controversies, particularly because prior to the 2008 elections, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) had vowed to stay off the multi-million dollar presidential villa constructed by the erstwhile Kufuor administration.

The presidential spokesman hinted that President Mahama was bracing himself to occupy the Jubilee House on an unknown date. “The ultimate aim is that we should use the Jubilee House, so if the vice president is going there, it is good. At the appropriate time, the president too would move there,” he said.

In August, President Mahama set up a committee to advise him on whether or not to move into the Jubilee House.

The committee, chaired by Commodore Steve Obimpeh (rtd), a senior presidential staff, would among other things, review the security, logistics and equipment-related issues required to make the Flagstaff House usable and appropriate for the presidency.

Some presidential advisors, including National Security Advisor Brig-Gen. Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, have kicked against the use of the facility, preferring the head of state to use the Castle, citing ostentation and security threats.

Expensive Extermination

Meanwhile, the Jubilee House is reeling under several physical and structural deteriorations.

A recent inspection by the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Enoch Teye Mensah, and a number of government officials, revealed serious telltale signs of deterioration on the multi-million edifice that has been left mostly uninhabited for the better part of the NDC’s four-year tenure, allowing rodents to have a field day.

In preparation to admit its news occupants, the NDC government has so far spent a total of GH¢121,443.71 to renovate and to exterminate rodents and scavengers from the Jubilee House.

E.T. Mensah recently disclosed in Parliament that out of the total amount, as much as GH¢48,956.99 was used to fumigate the presidential palace.

The cost of the fumigation alarmed Members of Parliament as some of them questioned whether the money was used to kill and evacuate a pool of rats and cockroaches in the Jubilee House.

A section of the presidential edifice is currently being occupied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

Source: Raphael Adeniran



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