Officials at the seat of government are in state of shock over revelations that ex-Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama and Nana Ama Kufuor, an elder daughter of ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor took away Peacocks and Peahens birds from the Castle Gardens where they had been since the Rawlings era.
The Enquirer has learnt that as at 2001 when Ex-President Rawlings left the Castle, there were over 60 peacocks at the Castle Gardens, but by January 7, 2009 when the last government exited, many had vamoosed leaving behind only 7.
Even the chicks hatched not long before the handling over also vanished from the Castle.
The birds, according to records, were given to ex-President Jerry John Rawlings as gift whilst in office by a foreign country, but he left them behind when he exited office in January 2001.
An Assistant Farm Overseer at the Castle, Awudu Karim, who is in-charge of the Castle Gardens and was strictly mandated by Mr. Rawlings to ensure the welfare of the ornamental birds in the garden including a large number of Doves, recently disclosed this to The Enquirer in Accra.
According to him, unlike Nana Ama Kufuor who collected three (one Peacock and two Peahens) through the then Chief Director at the Castle, the late Mr. C.A Atiomo, Alhaji Aliu Mahama and his ADC took away many of the ornamental birds without asking anybody.
In the case of the ex-Veep, Mr Karim revealed that he discovered the birds in the official bungalow at Cantonments, Accra after he was invited into the house to feed the birds as the household were having difficulties with what to feed the birds with. On entering the house, he wanted to know where the birds were coming from but he was told nothing.
Later, he discovered that a number of the birds under his care were missing, the same number he was made to feed in the ex-Vice-President’s official residence making him believe the Peacocks were taken from the Castle.
Mr. Karim, who could not recall the name of the ex-Vice President’s ADC, said the man came to him to be given some extra birds because one of the two birds he had taken home had died, hence he needed one more as a replacement.
This he said further confirmed this relief that the birds found in Alhaji Alui’s residence had come from the Castle. Meanwhile, by the time the ex-Vice-president packed out of the official residence, the birds were nowhere to be found, the Assistant Farmer Manager told The Enquirer.
Delving into when the birds were first brought, Mr. Karim told the Enquirer newspaper that Mr. Rawlings was emotionally attached to the Peacocks as well as the Doves that mostly in his spare time, he came into the gardens and fed them with millet, and they laid and hatched lots of eggs and multiplied in record time. Mr. Rawlings, he said, shocked him when upon leaving office, he did not take a single bird with him. Two of the birds he (Karim) personally took to the ex-president’s house at Ridge, were returned to the Castle.
Attempts by The Enquirer yesterday to reach Nana Ama Kufuor, to deny or confirm the report was fruitless.
A lady in her father’s residence who referred to herself as Precious claimed “she has travelled to some place, and will be back on November 14,” and flippantly asked; “if you can wait.” The Assistant farmer Manager recalled with nostalgia how he and former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings were flown from Ghana to Equatorial Guinea with two of the flamboyant birds as gifts to that oil-rich-country’s president, Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
Some of the birds he also recalled were taken to the Presidential Lodges at Akosombo and Akuse as well as the Kumasi Residency in the Ashanti Region. Those at Akosombo very quickly are still doing very fine.
"More Peacocks Stolen"
In related development, the former Director of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Mr. William Hrisir-Quaye, has also been indicted by an audit report for stealing 23 peacocks being reared at the park when he retired in October 2007.
The report which covers the period January 2005 to December 2007, revealed that six of the 23 birds were returned by Mr. Hrisir-Quaye, after the intervention of the current director of the park and effort made for the return of the remaining 17 others have proved futile.
Source: The Enquirer
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