Almost two years since a Government of Ghana car vanished at the premises of a hotel in Kumasi, Police and authorities seem to have no clue.
The brand-new 2018 Toyota Hilux Pickup was allegedly stolen, a couple of months after it was acquired.
Angel FM’s Saddick Adams tracks back events surrounding the loss of the vehicle and what we know so far.
Bankrupt NSA Has No Car
The National Sports Authority, the body mandated to regulated Sports in the country, has for some years, gone bankrupt. The body has been at the receiving end of several law suits.
In February 2017 for instance, had its bank accounts blocked after one of its creditors obtained a court order in bid to retrieve monies owed them over the past four years. The creditor won the suit and the only vehicle for the operations of the office confiscated. The Spokesperson Fredericka Davies-Mensah confirmed to newsmen that, Policemen stormed the premises with a bailiff and had the car taken away.
Top staff of the Authority had to do operational rounds in their private vehicle.
In November 2018, the NSA acquired two new Toyota Hilux Pick up cars for the use by the body, costing around GHC310,000.
One of the vehicles was kept in a pool at the Authority while the other was handed over to the Director General of the Authority, Professor Peter Twumasi, who was appointed in December 2018, weeks after the vehicles arrived.
Vehicle Not Registered by GV
Despite a Government of Ghana Directive for all vehicles acquired in the name of GoG to be registered under GV, the two vehicles failed to adhere to the directives for unknown reasons.
The vehicle was registered GX6551-18. According to checks by Saddick Adams, the vehicle was first insured under a third-party agreement.
Disappearance of Vehicle and Driver’s Narration
On September 5, 2019, the National Sports Authority Director was chauffeured to Kumasi by a driver of the NSA, by name Michael Andoh.
According to the driver, he had dropped the NSA Director at his residence near KNUST and proceeded to lodge at OWASS Hotel, some few kilometers from the KNUST Campus.
Mr Andoh narrated that, upon reaching the hotel, he was called by the aide to the NSA boss to drive to one hospital in the Ashanti Regional Capital, where a staff of the NSA was on admission.
Andoh, the driver drove in the company of the NSA Director’s aide to see the ailing staff. They both returned to the Hotel around 7pm. He parked the car at the hotel’s premises and accompanied the Director’s Personal Assistant to the road side where he picked a car.
Andoh then came back to the hotel, inspected the car and went into his room to sleep.
Between 3-4am on the dawn of 6th September 2019, Andoh says he heard loud knocks on his door only to open and meet the security man of the hotel. The NSA driver claim he was told by the security man that, the Director’s Personal Aide had been calling for several times and he Andoh was not picking.
He then checked his phone to see several missed calls from the PA.
He called back and was told by the PA that, the Director General had ordered for the two to go back to the hospital again to transfer the ailing staff since his condition had deteriorated.
Andoh says he was hesitant, since he knew it was impossible to get a doctor to transfer a patient at that time of the night and even if they were successful, the patient would have to be transported via an ambulance and not the NSA pickup.
He however picked his keys and dressed up to go pick the car since the order was from his boss. He got down to the car par and lo and behold, the car had vanished without any breakages or traces of damage.
The security officer at the hotel claimed he inspected the compound around 2am and the vehicle was intact, but here, it had disappeared in less than an hour without the security man getting any hint.
Andoh called his boss to report the incident and the two made formal complaints at the KNUST Police Stations. The security man at the hotel and Michael Andoh, the driver, were detained for some few hours and released.
The missing vehicle had three original keys, two of which were with the driver of the vehicle. The other key was with the Transport Officer at the National Sports Authority in Accra. The two keys are still with the beleaguered driver till date.
In a sharp contradiction to the driver’s narration, the Director General of the NSA, in an interview with Joy FM reporter Muftawu Nabila said “the car was with his driver Michael Andoh and he was robbed”.
Our reporters also gathered that, a facility near the Hotel of the incident had CCTV Cameras installed but when the driver with hotel management tried to access it to find out if they could trace the incident, the CCTV “did not function” that night, Michael claimed.
Driver’s Hotel Changed
The driver, Michael Andoh reveals that, he has been driving at the NSA for over 12 years and anytime they travel to Kumasi, he lodges at the Eno Yeboah Hotel near the Kumasi stadium. He parks his car at the stadium for maximum security before he returns to the hotel to pass the night.
According to him, this had always been the practice.
But few months before the vehicle was stolen, his boss, Mr Twumasi instructed that he changes his hotel to sleep closer to him, at the KNUST Hostel, reason for the decision to lodge at this new hotel where the car was stolen.
When our reporters went to the OWASS Hotel in April 2021, the security man at the centre of events, had been relieved of his duties and no longer works at the hotel. His whereabout were not disclosed.
The Police had also not invited Andoh, neither had they contacted the security man again, after they were released a day after the car disappeared.
NSA Institutes Internal Investigation
On 10th September 2019, the NSA Director set up a 3-member Committee to assist the investigative bodies and agencies with the following terms and references.
i. Unravel the circumstances that led to the disappearance of the of the vehicle;
ii. Liaise with the National Security including the Police in their investigation.
iii. Make recommendations to the management.
After few months of the committee’s investigations, the chairman of the committee was transferred from the head office to the Greater Accra NSA office, which caused delays in their operations.
As at 7th May 2021, before filing this story, the police had yet to submit any report to the Ministry of Sports or NSA.
When our reporters contacted the Director General Professor Twumasi, he indicated that matter was still with the Police and investigations underway.
He however added that, the car has been insured against theft so he is hopeful it would be replaced.
New Car Acquired
The National Sports Authority had to rent a Jeep car to be used by the Director General, at a cost of 500 cedis day for Accra and 800 cedis outside Accra, for nearly six months after the disappearance of the official vehicle.
Recently, the NSA acquired a Land Cruiser Prado to be used by the Director as his official car.
The controversial missing of the car, for almost two years, without any trace, is still a matter causing lot of musings and murmurings within and around the coffers of the debt-ridden NSA.
Source: Saddick Adams, Contributor