In a dramatic turn of events regarding accommodation for both former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and his successor John Agyekum Kufuor, the two dignitaries have turned down the offer of the plush-gated Trassaco Valley houses in East Legon, Accra.
Mansions in the gated community are estimated to cost nearly $2million each. It is unlikely that foot-soldiers will be admitted into the tall iron gates of the mansions, if the former presidents accepted the offers.
Both former First Citizens were sent keys and letters regarding the Trassaco exclusive shelters by bearers from the Castle.
According to the spokesperson for former President Kufuor, Frank Agyekum, a bearer brought a key for a house in Trassaco Valley with an accompanying letter, which according to him, did not amuse his boss after earlier information relayed regarding a temporary accommodation. Former President Kufuor, he said, demanded to see the place first but nothing was heard from them until this latest development.
Mr. Agyekum subsequently told Citi Fm that his bossâ€™s decision to reject the offer stemmed from the fact that their input was not adequately considered, adding also that â€śwe do not even know the location of the house and what went into the building constructionâ€ť.
He added, â€śThe president was unhappy and was not ready to accept the building.â€ť
He was quick to add that apart from two vehicles from government, salaries for his staff had been denied them, three years after his exit from power.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that former President Rawlings also treated the offer in like-fashion when a letter and a key to a temporary accommodation at the Trassaco Valley were delivered to his house.
Kofi Adam, spokesperson for former President Rawlings, told Oman FM that Mr. Rawlings was not interested in a temporary accommodation.
The Castle panicked last week when groups loyal to former President Rawlings and his wife, including FONKAR, organized a press conference at the burnt residence to announce its dissatisfaction over the foul treatment of the ex-president.
By the following day, a text message originating from the deputy chief of staff at the presidency, Osu Castle, Valerie Sawyer, was sent to former President Rawlings.
It read: â€śYour Excellency, I hope you are doing fine, this morning I gave the consultant, Evans Anfom, a total of GHÂ˘381,619,29 broken down as followsâ€¦ GHÂ˘298,414.13 as advance payment for the Contractor Consar: GHÂ˘76,800.00 as part of his consultancy fees and GHÂ˘6405.16 as geodetic fees. We also upgraded Kobinah Andohâ€™s ticket for the last Somalia trip and we are working on the salary arrears of Kofi Adams and Kobinah Andoh. Your Excellency, if there is anything we can do, please do not hesitate to let me know. Thank us and God bless you. Valerie.â€ť
Mr. Rawlingsâ€™s accommodation became an issue when, after his Ridge official residence was gutted by fire, he remained without a state-provided shelter.
He is said to be shuttling between Sogakope and Accra for official business in the nationâ€™s capital as government showed no interest in providing him with an alternative or rebuilding the gutted house. His incessant lashing of President Mills and his government and the subsequent rift between them is said to have been the cause of the indifference to his plight.
Promises to rebuild the Ridge residence by government did not materialize, with Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings recently describing as lies an announcement that the project had commenced.
Parts of the Chinery-Hesse Report advised that ex-presidents be given permanent houses and offices. Both houses should be five bed-room and a three-bed room boysâ€™ quarters each.
By the aforementioned development, the contents of some reports yesterday that former president Kufuor had collected keys to the said house are untrue
The Rawlingses, the report claimed, had chosen the consultant to work on the rebuilding bid of their destroyed Ridge accommodation.
The day after the press conference at the Ridge residence of the Rawlingses, during which the four-week ultimatum was given to government to rebuild the house, the cheque for construction work was presented to the consultant chosen by the former first couple, DAILY GUIDE has been told.
By A.R. Gomda