President John Mahama’s response to corruption and conflict of interest charges levelled against him by critics in connection with his acceptance of a Ford Expedition car from a Burkinabe contractor shows he is not being “truthful”, political scientist Dr Richard Amoako Baah has stated.
Mr Mahama has received a lot of flak from anti-graft bodies and opposition parties recently over a revelation that he received the SUV as a gift from Mr Djibril Kanazoe, who, in turn, was awarded with a number of contracts by the government of Ghana.
On his Accounting to the People tour in Tema on Wednesday June 22, Mr Mahama challenged his accusers to use the appropriate constitutional processes against him if, indeed, they had any evidence of corruption against him. He added that the accusations were baseless and those peddling such rumours would not win the November 7 elections.
But speaking in an interview on Class FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Thursday June 23, Dr Amoako Baah told host Prince Minkah that the president should explain his side of the story with facts and not just brush the accusations off.
“What makes it baseless? As a president you must tell us [citizens] the truth. There is written evidence that the car was given to you. Why is he assuming all of a sudden that people want to get at him? We want to get to the bottom of the matter. He set ethical standards for his ministers and he is violating those standards. That is grounds for impeachment because he is bringing his office into disrepute and not being truthful with us [citizens],” he said.
The former head of Political Science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) further indicated that it could not be true the vehicle was for the state.
“There will be no reason to go and pay duty at that reduced rate. Since when has the state paid duties to itself? As they keep saying these things, it makes it worse because it makes no sense,” the academic argued.
He maintained that Mr Mahama “is holding others to high standards and cannot fall this low”.
“If he has fallen this low, he needs to explain to citizens,” he advised.
To him, if Mr Mahama came out to say that his action was an error in judgement, “I would forgive him and never talk about it again because everybody makes mistakes, but you cannot behave as if it is a non-issue”.
He pointed out that: “Others have lost their jobs [because of similar issues]. Judges have lost their jobs for taking goats; do we have different standards for people in government?”
Dr Amoako Baah feels the president could have his side of the story, which everybody needs to hear, to bring the matter to rest, but if “he [Mr Mahama] does not say anything and talks about political enemy, is Manasseh a political enemy?”
He said once the president makes such comments and acts in such a manner, it means he has no defence against the allegations levelled against him.
Meanwhile, a private citizen as well as the youth wing of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on the matter. The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) also intends doing same. Anti-graft body Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has said the acceptance of the gift amounted to conflict of interest. Pressure group OccupyGhana has also argued same and called for a probe into the matter, just as has been advocated by the minority in parliament.