IT WAS A BRIBE! -Bogus CHRAJ Report on Mahama Ford rubbished Featured

Some members of the public have described as bogus, the report released yesterday by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice after its preliminary investigations into the circumstances surrounding the doling out of a $100,000 Ford Expedition vehicle to President John Dramani Mahama by a Burkinabe contractor.

 

According to the commission, even though President Mahama erred by breaching the nation’s Gift Policy, there was no evidence to show that he had engaged in any wrongdoing.

The investigations followed three separate petitions from the National Youth League of the Convention People's Party, the Progressive People's Party and a private person, Nana Adofo Ofori.

The petitioners, like many discerning Ghanaians, were of the opinion that President Mahama had erred in accepting the Ford vehicle, put himself in a position of conflict of interest, while the doling out of the vehicle by his Burkinabe friend constituted an act of bribery.

But according to CHRAJ, at the end of its preliminary investigation, it came to the conclusion that even though President Mahama had acted in contravention of the Gift Policy, the claims that he had contravened Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution by putting himself in situations of conflict of interest was not the case.

But some members of the public who spoke to the Daily Statesman yesterday rubbished the report by CHRAJ, insisting that the circumstances surrounding the doling out of the Ford vehicle to the president, as well as the sequence of events, clearly pointed out it was a bribe.

“It was a bribe! Even if CHRAJ is making contrary claims, it will still be very difficult for any discerning person to accept the claim that the president had not taken a bribe. The Burkinabe contractor who gave the vehicle to the president said he had been looking for a contract in Ghana but was not successful. A friend asked him to go and ‘salute’ Mr Mahama. He did that and later got a contract to do for the country. The man then gave out a $100,000 worth of a Ford vehicle to the president, whereupon he was awarded another contract to do. He was also going to do another contract before the scandal came public. Why do you think the man gave the vehicle to the president? And why was he getting more and more contracts? The reason is simple: he had done something to influence the president who was obviously pulling the strings in his favour. The vehicle was simply a bribe and nothing else,” Fred Gyampoh, told the paper.

Others that spoke to the paper largely shared the views expressed by Mr Gyampoh, and described the outcome of the preliminary investigations by CHRAJ as a ‘timid attempt’ to whitewash an obvious wrongful act which should not be perpetrated by any serious president who wants to be seen as being committed to the fight against corruption.

The Ford saga became public following an investigation conducted by Joy News’ Manasseh Awuni Azure after the Burkinabe contractor had executed two government contracts. He was due for a third contract when news about the Ford dole-out gained currency, thus forcing him to pull out of the contract.

Djibril Kanazoe constructed the $650,000 Ghana Embassy wall in Burkina Faso, which Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee flagged, and the Dodo-Pepeso section of what has largely been described as the most expensive road project in Ghana – the Eastern Corridor Road Network.

The CHRAJ report quouted President Mahama as saying: "On the construction of the Perimeter Fence Wall around the Ghana Mission Plot of Land (the Wall) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the Respondent categorically denied the allegations that he played any role and/or was involved in any shape or form, in the award of the contract for the construction of the Wall and/or the payment therefore, and that, until these allegations came to his notice, he was not aware that the donor’s company had been awarded, and was executing, the contract for the construction of the Wall."

The report added: "According to the Respondent, the vehicle was delivered to the Castle at a time he was on a nationwide election campaign tour, and was unaware of the existence of the gift. It was not until his campaign took him to the Upper East Region that the Honourable Minister, assuming that the Respondent had already been notified of the delivery of the vehicle, enquired about it. The Respondent there and then asked the Minister to call Mr. Kanazoe (the donor) for him (Respondent) to thank him (the donor) and it was accordingly done. When the Respondent returned to Accra after his campaign but before the December 2012 General Elections, the officer- in-charge of the Presidential car fleet confirmed to the Respondent that he had taken delivery of the vehicle, and asked what he should do with it. The Respondent instructed the officer-in-charge to add it to the Presidential car fleet."

According to the report, "He maintained he was not aware of the gift and when it was delivered to Ghana. Nevertheless, when his attention was drawn to it, he instructed that it should be added to the official Presidential fleet. And since then the vehicle had been used and continue to be used for official purposes.”

Meanwhile, the two political parties behind the petitions that triggered investigations say they have been vindicated by the Commission’s report.

Policy Advisor for the PPP, Kofi Asamoah Siaw, yesterday said even the party was yet to determine the next line of action, based on the conclusion of the Commission's report, it was satisfied that it had been established that the president erred by receiving the gift.

Dwelling on the Commission’s conclusion that President Mahama breached the gift policy, Mr Siaw wondered the punitive measures that would be meted to him.

“The President violated the gift law. I don’t know the consequences of that; if there is a law, unless there is no sanction prescribed but this confirms that the President has erred.”

 

 

 

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