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Former President John Mahama has said he “never” expressed interest in buying the state bungalow in which he stayed during his tenure of office.
In a letter written to President Nana Akufo-Addo to withdraw his interest in his earlier request to keep the property as part of his retirement package, Mr Mahama said, contrary to misinformation by government officials, “I had never requested to purchase the property; my request is, therefore, humbly withdrawn.”
In the letter, Mr Mahama said in part: “I refer to our agreement on the above subject matter and wish to inform you that I have decided to formally withdraw both requests to continue to stay at my current place of residence, No.3. Prestige Link Cantonment and also to use bungalow No.6 3rd Avenue Ridge, as my office.
“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. 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.
“You will 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…”
Per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, Mr Mahama was supposed to vacate the property a day before the investiture of President Nana Akufo-Addo. His failure to do so caused huge controversy.
While the outgone government’s side of the transition team said it reached an agreement with the new president’s team to allow Mr Mahama to continue staying in the property, the new government said there was no such deal.
The 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 as his ex-gratia where he lives and also be given another property as his office".
Mr Mahama’s critics say his earlier quest to keep the property was unlawful.