By Gifty Arthur
Prints Customized Exercise Books For Change Of Guards At Presidency
President Nana Akufo-Addo, has announced he was cutting down on excessive spending, and has since placed a ban on his appointees traveling abroad, but his Office, has been caught in yet another profligate spending at the expense of the taxpayer.
The Herald, has intercepted exercise books printed by the Office of the President as souvenirs for individuals who throng the seat of government. These books are different from the huge presidential diaries that the President gives out to visitors, friends and family.
The exercise books, have been procured purposely for people, the presidency calls “Special Guest of Honour” for the occasional Change of Guards programme by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
Change of Guards, is a formal ceremony in which a group of soldiers providing ceremonial guard duties at important institutions such as the Flagstaff House, are relieved of their duties by a new batch of soldiers.
The book, covered with designs of Ghana’s rich Kente, has pictures of President Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
It is given as gifts to people who make it to the ceremonial change of the guard at the Flagstaff House in Accra. It lasts less than an hour, and it is done every three months with the President inspecting the guards.
The hardcover book with gold-plated decorative Leg Corner Protectors has the inscription, “Office of the President” together with the stamp of “The Presidency Republic of Ghana”. There is also a white inscription which reads “I was a Special Guest at the Presidency to witness the Change of Guards Ceremony”.
This comes on the heels of the President’s directive that all ministers, deputies, Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executive (MMDCEs) and heads of government agencies, should not embark on any foreign travels.
Though the memo announcing the ban signed by Chief of Staff, Frema Osei Opare, did not state the exact reason for the temporal ban, a Deputy Chief of Staff, Samuel Abu Jinapor, explained that the directive was as a result of abuse by the appointees, adding the government was developing a guideline to ensure everyone is held in check.
While, some have hailed the directive, many are skeptical, as they claim it would amount to nothing because the wastage actually comes from the Presidency.
President Akufo-Addo, has been identified as one president, who notoriously travels with his family and friends compared to his predecessors.
Indeed, the country has lost counts of the number of trips President Akudo-Addo has made in the last 18 months that he has been in office.
This year’s budget, has revealed that the amount of money allocated to the Flagstaff House alone by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, is bigger than what was spent by the Mahama-led administration in four years.
It is not clear, which company is printing these books, how long this has been going on and how much the government is paying for them?
Interestingly, the same President Nana Akufu-Addo, had campaigned on corruption and excessive spending by its predecessor.
He is on record to have accused the Mahama-led administration of printing diaries amounting to US$10 millions, but failed to substantiate his claim when challenged to do so.
Since assuming office, the Akufo-Addo government, has printed diaries but has failed to state how much it cost the taxpayer and who printed them.