The Akufo-Addo government has rejected claims by former President John Mahama’s office that an agreement has been reached allowing Mr Mahama to keep his Cantonments official residence as his retirement home.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who speaks for the new government’s side of the transition team, stressed there was a request from President John Mahama, asking permission to keep the residence but a decision had not been reached.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah revealed that “in the shortest possible time”, the new government will take a decision on the request made by former President Mahama.
His reaction comes after the former Communications Minister Omane Boamah claimed in a statement Sunday that ex-President Mahama had been given the green light to occupy the residence under controversy.
“We wish to state and confirm that per the information officially communicated to the newly inaugurated administration following discussions by the Joint Transition Team, President Mahama will continue to maintain his current place of residence as his retirement home,” the statement said.
Despite an official residence in the Flagstaff House, President Mahama refused to use the facility during his four-year stay in power.
He preferred staying in the Cantonments residence which he had been using as vice-president. With the exit of his NDC government, the former President wants to keep this home as part of his retirement package.
The Transition Act in Section 10(1) requires that the President and his Vice must vacate their official residence a day before the inauguration of the new government.
Vacation of official residence
10. (1) The incumbent President and the incumbent Vice-President shall each vacate the official residences before the day of the swearing-in. of the person elected as President. and. if either of them so desires move into an alternate official residence.
(2) Any other person who ceases to hold office on the assumption of office of the person elected as President and is in occupation of an official residence shall vacate the residence within three months after that assumption of office.
The law allows the President to request for a residence but he cannot request to keep or use his official residence, legal practitioner Yaw Oppong explained on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday.
The lawyer is convinced President Mahama ought to vacate his residence. Another lawyer and leader of pressure group OccupyGhana Ace Ankomah agreed with Yaw Oppong.
He is incensed at what he believes is a clear breach of the law by the former President. “…even if the president was using 10 houses, all of those must be vacated a day before the swearing-in,” he said.
Ace Ankomah argued, “there could be no agreement [with the incoming government] before the swearing-in…. an incoming government cannot bind the people of Ghana legally.”
He described Mahama’s continuous stay in his official residence as a “terrible in breach of section 10 of the Transition Act”.
Omane Boamah in a further reaction said Kojo Oppong Nkrumah may not have been privy to the decision which he claimed was taken between a co-chair of the Transition Team Julius Debrah and the co-chair of the Transition Team Yaw Osafo Marfo.
“I have no reason to doubt what the former chief of staff Julius Debrah indicated to us” he said.
The former minister said “if there has been a change of mind [by the new gov’t] there is absolutely nothing wrong in communicating that with the former chief of staff”.