“I have not requested a BMW to monitor any road. I don’t drive a saloon car so how can I demand a BMW saloon car to monitor a project,” this was how the former Minster of Roads and Highways, Joe Gidisu, broke his long silence when he was reacting to a report presented by the Public Accounts Committee to Parliament which indicted him for demanding a BMW saloon car to monitor the Achimota-Ofankor highway project.
Speaking on News and Current Affairs Program Ghana Dadwen, the Member of Parliament for Tongue Central said he was disappointed over the turn of events especially when he clearly told the committee that the request for the purchase of the saloon car did not originate from him.
He said when he was appointed a Minister, there were cars in the Ministry that were being used for official duties and those were the same cars he used, and there was no time in his tenure as Minister for Roads and Highways that he asked for a new car.
“This whole issue of me asking for a saloon car has been twisted to give a dog a bad name and hang it; I know 90% of cars in that Ministry were bought from project accounts, but I never made any request for any car; I drive a four wheel car, Asempa have you seen me with a saloon car,” Mr Gidisu lamented.
Some members of parliament on Friday expressed anger following revelations that former Roads and Highway Minister Joe Gidisu requested a BMW saloon vehicle valued at $160.503,76 from the contractors of the Achimota-Ofankor highway in Accra to enable him inspect the project.
According to the MPs, it was outrageous for the then minister to request the BMW 7-series instead of a pickup truck which is often used for such inspections. According to the report by the Public Accounts Committee, the project has overshot its original budget by over 200%.
But the former minister argued that it was not in his remit to make orders for cars but that of the Chief Director of the Ministry. Admitting that he was consulted by the chief director at the time on the issue of procuring a new saloon car from the Achimota-Ofankor project, but never knew the type of car, “So when I hear people saying I ordered for a BMW 9 series, I get surprised.”
Mr. Gidisu told Bright Kwesi Asempa that when the car was bought, he wrote personally to the Chief of Staff through the Protocol Department and returned the car because he thought it was not right.
“I have all the documents, and I presented same to the PAC, so why are they talking as if I made no attempt to return the car or it was my decision that the car should be bought; I am disappointed, it hurts me so much that people will not say the truth.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Ranking of the Public Account Committee, Ibrahim Dey Abubakari, has told Ghana Dadwen that Parliament will henceforth ensure that such reckless purchases are stopped, describing them as inappropriate.