Majority Leader Alban Bagbin has said the decision by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) to lodge a complaint with the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over President John Mahama’s car gift is their right, but cautioned that they would be expected to provide evidence that the gift amounted to corruption.The PPP has set Thursday, June 23 for the filing of a petition to CHRAJ over the controversy.
President Mahama has come under fire for receiving a Ford Expedition as a gift from Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, although government has explained the car has been added to the pool of cars at the presidency.
The PPP insists the president has violated Article 284 of the 1992 constitution, which calls on public officials to desist from taking gifts, which could influence their decisions.
But speaking to Emefa Apawu on Class91.3FM’s 505 news programme on Monday June 20, Mr Bagbin said information on the car gift is sketchy and people are criticising the president because it is a political season.
“As Ghanaians, they are by the constitution entitled to lodge complaints with the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), that is their right and they can do that; there is nothing wrong with that,” the Majority leader stated.
Mr Bagbin noted that the PPP’s conclusion that the gift was a bribe to the president was their opinion. According to him, the PPP’s quest to petition CHRAJ will rather throw more light on the scanty information available, so far as the investigation by Manasseh Awuni Azure was concerned.
He said: “On the basis of the sketchy information available to them and to some of us…I think that they are following up there for us to go deeper into the whole matter so that the actual facts can come out. I did a similar thing when the late president of Libya gave a Benz S500 to President Kufour: I took the matter to the human rights commission based on the facts that were available to me and the commission really applied the full rules of the court of law, not the commission, as I expected, and wanted me to prove the argument that the onus then laid on the complainant to adduce evidence. It was not like they wanted to investigate themselves, but they wanted me to provide the evidence. And, so, if the PPP is also minded to take this matter to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, why not? They could do so.”
“But for me, I think that all these commentary is still falling short of coming to a conclusive statement because the facts are not too clear and people are picking and choosing, and that is why I think this matter has been on for a long time”, the Nadowli-Kaleo legislator noted, adding that: “The investigations were not that deep and the sequence of events, documents and statements are all not clear and, therefore, people, being a political season, are picking and choosing and saying what they want.”