The exposé concerning President John Mahama’s acceptance of a Ford Expedition from a Burkinabe contractor is a shabby attempt to sully his image and reputation, presidential staffer Dr Clement Apaak has said.
The gift was given to Mr Mahama by Mr Djibril Kanazoe, according to investigations done by Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure Awuni. The Burkinabe was, in turn, given a series of contracts by the Government of Ghana, including a $650,000 deal to fence a tract of land around Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso.
Anti-graft body Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has described the president’s acceptance of the gift as smacking of conflict of interest. Opposition MPs including Joe Osei-Wusu and Isaac Asiamah have also described the saga as “shameful”.
The government has issued a statement denying that the gift influenced the President in any way, as far as the award of the contract was concerned. The statement, signed by the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, noted: “The said vehicle, which was placed in the vehicle pool at the presidency as per established convention, had nothing to do with the award of the contracts.”
Dovetailing into that, Dr Apaak, in defence of the president told Prince Minkah on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Thursday June 16 that: “Ideally, I think this statement should put this attempt to try and malign the good image of our president to rest.”
“If you had taken the pain to go through the so-called exposé and you listen very attentively, you’d notice (the types of persons, who were featured) it is clear that it’s indeed a very poor attempt to malign the image and reputation of the president and it is not going to fly”.
“First of all, I don’t know any Ford Explorer [sic] that will cost up to $100,000; I don’t know if you know that but that in itself is a very questionable attribution to make. Secondly, I don’t know of anyone, who takes a bribe and then allows that to be documented. If you had listen to Ghana’s Ambassador to Burkina Faso at the time, who is on record …to have received the gift, and then [brought] it across the border with documentation, then it certainly begs the question. I mean, you and I know that if somebody is going to take a bribe, and indeed the intent is to take a bribe, which is an illegality, you don’t get it documented, but this vehicle from where it came from, was properly documented and brought into this country before it got to its final destination, and when it got there, it was not registered in the name of the president or a member of his family. It was registered in the name of the republic of Ghana and then added to the pool of vehicles for use by the office of the president, so how do you describe this as a bribe? And in any case, truly, are they saying that our nation Ghana has been bribed with a Ford Explorer? You see, the vehicle is there for use by the state. It is not there for the use of His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama. Quite certainly, the man [Djibril Kanazoe] said that he was the one that gave the gift to [the president] but the recipient of the gift, when the gift got to him, the processes that were deployed and the final use of that gift certainly do not connote or even in the wildest imagination of any fair-minded person, suggest an act of bribery,” Dr Apaak explained.