General News of 2014-01-12

Merbank saga: Mahama didn't breach conflict of interest rules

A law lecturer at the University of Professional Studies (UPS), Godwin Aweneh has rejected suggestions of conflict of interest against President John Mahama in the Merchant bank, Engineers & Planners (E&P) loan saga.
“What harm has been caused by the presence of the Vice President [President Mahama] at that meeting…" he quizzed.
According to him, nobody has facts about the role the then Vice President played at that particular meeting. “That would have been the raw material for us to have done justice to this particular issue.’’
Mr Aweneh stated that President Mahama was in that meeting at the instance of his boss and as the head of the Economic management team. “At the moment, since we cannot pin-point any material harm caused, I think that we can leave it at that," he opined.
"If the President was the then head of the economic management team, how do we then raise the issue of conflict of interest; to me the issues of conflict of interest are very relevant, but with particular reference to this particular case we do not know what decision was taken, we do not know that he was supposed to take a decision apart from just being at the meeting," he added.
President Mahama has been accused by the Minority in Parliament of breaching conflict of interest rules by sitting in meetings between Merbank and Engineers and Planners (E&P).
But speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis Program The Big Issue, Godwin Aweneh said until any evidence is brought to prove President Mahama played a role to influence any decision during the meeting, the allegations cannot hold.
"Once we are not saying that the then Vice President [President Mahama] had to take a decision and he took a decision, then the issue of conflict of interest will be a very difficult issue to implicate."
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