former President John Mahama has written to President Nana Akufo-Addo withdrawing his earlier request to keep his current residence located at No.3 Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra as part of his retirement package.
The former president personally wrote to the current President, Nana Akufo-Addo rescinding his initially expressed interest.The letter, which has been sighted by Peacefmonline, is also copied the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Portions of the letter headlined “Official Residence And Office” indicated that the request is being withdrawn because it threatens the relationships between the current administration and the former government.
“It would appear that these requests threaten to mar the spirit of cooperation with which we as co-chairs of the joint transition team have managed the smooth transfer of power from my administration to yours. I believe that this controversy is absolutely not needed in these early days as the government settles into office,” Mr Mahama wrote.
“I do recognise that these are facilities that are conventionally extended to presidents that leave office and I am also mindful of the approval by the Parliament of the republic of Ghana on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at its 22nd sitting of the third meeting of the 4th session.
In the letter, the former president also accused some persons in government of creating the false impression that he requested to purchase the property.
“You would recall, Mr President that contrary to the erroneous impression created by some persons in government and the interpretation given to the former letter submitted on my behalf by Mr Julius Debrah, this was a follow-up to an agreement we had on my choice of accommodation and office. I had never requested to purchase the property; my request is, therefore, humbly withdrawn,” Mr Mahama added.
There has been a massive hue and cry over the decision by former President Mahama to appropriate the official residence as part of his end-of-service package.Mr Mahama’s critics say his earlier quest to keep the property was unlawful.
The residence, bungalow No.3, situated at Prestige Link, Cantonments in Accra, has been designated as official accommodation for the country’s Vice-Presidents but was still inhabited by the former President becoming President of Ghana. The residence has been the official house for sitting vice presidents. Mr Mahama was supposed to vacate the property a day before the investiture of President Nana Akufo-Addo, per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.
A Presidential Emoluments committee Mahama formed before handing over, had recommended that the exiting president be paid 40% of his salary as rent allowance. But after Parliament accepted this recommendation, President John Mahama caused fresh changes in the recommendation which was later brought back to parliament.
Though the Akufo-Addo government has agreed to provide the ex-president a residential facility, it says it has not acceded to the request sent by the Former Chief of Staff of the Former President, Julius Debrah for Former President Mahama to keep his residence as President.
Leader of the new government’s side of the transition team, Yaw Osafo Marfo told journalists: “We have not approved of his request, and I want to repeat we have received the request and the requests are two – for him to be given his ex-gratia where he lives and also be given another property as his office”