Nana Akufo-Addo
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo during the swearing-in ceremony at Independence Square in Accra, Ghana on 7 January 2017 REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Ghana's new President Nana Akufo-Addo has said he want to recover some 200 luxury cars from the presidential fleet that have supposedly "disappeared" and are worth millions of pounds.

Opposition leader Akufo-Addo, a 72-year-old former human rights lawyer, won the tightly-contested presidential election after defeating President John Mahama in December. He secured 53.8% of the vote against Mahama's 44.4%, becoming president-elect in his third attempt.

Since his oath of office at a ceremony attended by dozens of African leaders in the capital Accra on 7 January, Akufo-Addo claims he has only had one state car at his disposal, a 10-year-old BMW. The cars are paid for by the taxpayer.

Director of communications at the presidency Eugene Arhin earlier this week revealed that some 208 vehicles awarded to advisers or senior officials under President Mahama's mandate are unaccounted for at the Flagstaff House's vehicle pool. The new administration claims the officials forgot to return the cars when they left office.

Found vehicles include 74 Toyota Land Cruisers averaging £25,569 ($31,966) before tax each, 20 Land Cruiser Prado (£26,425), two Toyota Avalon 31 000 (£34,946 starting price) as well as 11 Mercedes and two BMW, which models are not specified. A commission has been set up to recover the state's assets.

"The President of the Republic currently has virtually only one vehicle at his disposal. This is the vehicle which was purchased in 2007 during the Ghana at 50 celebrations. It is a BMW," Arhin told media on 8 February.

"As I speak to you there is only one vehicle he has been using during his rounds in Accra. You definitely have to ask yourself where are all the vehicles."

According to the spokesman, Akufo-Addo was forced to use his own vehicle, a Land Cruiser, to attend an engagement outside of the capital.

"He, unfortunately, has to use his own vehicles because the vehicle meant for the presidency or vehicles meant for his use are currently not available," Arhin added.

"So vehicles right from 2007 when these Ghana at 50 vehicles were bought right down to now, if you go to the presidential pool, you cannot find any of them and it is not as if those are the only ones. There are lots of other vehicles."

The former National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration denies the claims. Former deputy chief of staff Johnny Osei Kofi accused Akufo-Addo's government of distorting facts, saying that 641 vehicles were listed and properly accounted for.

"The claims of Eugene Arhin are false, baseless without merit. They represent a continuation of the distortions and bad faith that have characterised the conduct of the NPP side of the Transition team," Kofi said in a statement.

Former minister of communication Edward Omane Boamah said the allegations were an invention intended to justify the fact that the new team in power is preparing to acquire a fleet of brand new vehicles.