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General News
Mills'' Boys Drive Posh Cars 3/28/2009

Koku Anyido,Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye lead pack

Barely four months in office, some members of staff at the presidency are driving in some of the most expensive luxurious cars in the world.

There is also the conscious effort on the part of the Mills administration, to finance newspapers that have sympathy towards the ruling government. According to Today Newspaper they managed to scoop a Castle practice these days, where editors and some staff members of the NDC induced newspapers collect cash cheques from the office of the Vice President to support the publication of their newspapers.

Thus the hitherto unattractive black and white newspapers have instantly gone colour with well structured laid out and good pictures. The man in charge of the distribution of the monies is himself a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a major radio station in Accra. He is currently an aide to the Vice President.

The editors are given specific instructions to withdraw their cash cheques from the Osu branch of the Ghana Commercial Bank in Accra.

In the case of the Castle Staffers, their vehicles consist of latest 2007 and 2008 sleek Peugeot 607; Benz and Crysler Salon Cars and other Four Wheel vehicles that include Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition. While the junior Castle staffers use the Salon Cars, their senior colleagues drive the Four Wheel vehicles.

The most visible ones being Koku Anyidoho, head of Communications, Castle; Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye, a presidential staffer; one Halidu, office of the Vice President and a popular serial caller and John Abdulai Jinapor of the office of the Vice President.

The rest are the Chief of Staff, Mr. John Newmann and Mr. James Victor Gbeho. To underscore the status of the cars, all the cars have fresh DVLA registration numbers. Mr. Koku Anyidiho drives a Peugeot 607 Salon car with registration number GT 4161-09; Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye; Peugeot 607 with registration number VR 107-09 and John Abdulai Jinapor, Peugeot 607 with registration number GR 3870-09.

Mr. Newman, the Chief of Staff drives a latest Lincoln Navigator with registration number GT 4163-09 with Mr. James Victor Gbeho using a Crysler State Protocol vehicle with registration number SPD 321 GV.

The paper further discovered that NDC functionaries, including some former Ministers of State in the first administration of the NDC are using State vehicles with the new DVLA registration numbers embossed on their number plates.

Other new faces that this paper sighted at the Castle who might not necessarily be categorized as presidential staffers, but have become habitual attendants at the Castle, since President Mills assumed the reigns of power on January 7, 2009 are also driving new vehicles which NDC insiders say were given to them by the government.

Although insiders confirm to this paper that all the parading Castle attendants are members of the NDC, the paper could not immediately identify their names because they are new. It is believed some were back stage staffers who either helped to finance the party or campaigned for the NDC to win the 2008 elections.

Some members of the party''s Youth Wing-the NDC Forum, have their status changed completely with the change of government. They have all been allocated brand new state vehicles. Some members of the NDC Youth Forum are currently working at the National Security, the research department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the office of the Vice President.

The vehicles, this paper found are fuelled by the State and although the President would want Ghanaians to believe that he has cut down on the number of ministers, to support his campaign promise of running a lean administration, the high number of presidential staffers virtually makes his administration as large as his predecessor if not bigger.

Some popular members of the NDC Forum, who have gained notoriety for their passionate response on NDC issues on radio discussions like Musa and Mustapha, Today further established, are all working at the office of the Vice President and enjoying the trappings that go with the high office. The two are members of the security detail of His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, the Vice President.

Our findings are in contrast with a defense put up by Mahama Ayariga, the Presidential Spokesperson, who told a section of the media last week that no presidential staffer is enjoying State resources because the Council of State was yet to get down to work to advise the President on their benefits.

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