Just when everybody thought the controversy over the correctness or otherwise of the supposed Ford Expedition ‘gift’ from a Burkinabe contractor to President Mahama was dying a natural death, a pressure group, Concerned Ghanaians (CG) have brought it back to life.
The group insists the car was not a gift and that it was a bribe meant to influence the President.
It follows a stunning revelation that President Mahama received a gift in a form of a brand new 2010 model Ford Expedition vehicle from a Burkinabe contractor, Oumarou Djibril Kanazoe who later won priced Ghana government contracts.
It is believed that his friendship with the President earned him some of the contracts; chief among them is the construction of a fence wall on a land belonging to the Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso at a cost of $650,000 and the Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road worth €25.9million with the third one being a 28-kilometre road project between Wa and Hamile in the Upper West Region at an estimated cost of GH¢82million, from which he has chickened out after the scandal broke.
Even though government has denied any wrongdoing on the part of the President, the Concerned Ghanaians group thinks otherwise.
In a statement issued and signed by spokespersons for the group, Goodfellow Ofei Dei and Atick Yakubu, they insisted the President must return the car.
“If Mahama has any sense of shame, he would admit his grand faux pas and return this tainted ‘gift’”, the statement noted, whiles insisting “for the sake of the integrity of the high Office of Presidential, Concerned Ghanaians implores him to do so.”
That, they said was because the estimated value of the car [$10,000] far exceeded the GH¢200 stated in the code of conduct for public office holders as the threshold of gifts they can accept.
They therefore maintained that “Mahama undoubtedly used the office of President to ensure that his friend, Mr Kanazoe received Government contracts for which no other tenders were received, and at inflated prices as the Ouagadougou embassy wall would attest to.”
For them, “this sordid episode is tarred with conflicts of interest that the President, in his capacity” should have been well aware of, stressing “from these grubby little deals with his good friend Mr Kanazoe, Mahama benefited in kind with the receipt of that Ford Expedition vehicle.”
For them, “the stench of corruption has now become intractable from President Mahama himself” and that “the litany of scandals that embroil Mahama, both prior and during his presidency, are a disgrace to his office. Armajaro, STX, Embraer Jets, Ameri, ENI and Karpower are names that have become by-words for the graft, corruption and mismanagement that have taken place under the President’s watch.”
They therefore emphasized that “John Mahama has been guilty of numerous conflicts of interest that tarnish the distinguished office of the president, indicative of a man whose judgment is questionable.”