Anti-corruption campaigners have slammed President John Dramani Mahama for what they described as his blatant disregard for the guidelines on conflict of interest in accepting a vehicle gift worth 100, 000 dollars from a contractor.
According to them, the action of the President is a clear breach of the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) guidelines on conflict of interest in the country.
Government functionaries had, initially, declined to comment on the expose of Joy news’ Manasseh Awuni Azure investigation into the nature of relationship that exists between an Ouagadougou-based contractor and the Ghanaian President.
However, after the revelation gained momentum with Ghanaians questioning the integrity of President Mahama, the government responded.
A statement signed by the Communications Minister, Dr Omane Boamah justified the vehicle in question; Ford Expedition valued at 100, 000 dollars has “been placed in the vehicle pool at the Presidency.”
Joynews investigations revealed President Mahama was given the brand new Ford Expedition in 2012 by the Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, who described Mahama as his friend.
Kanazoe is the contractor behind the construction of the controversial $650, 000 Ghana Embassy Wall in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, which was flagged by the Auditor-General.
It was further revealed that the contractor is the same person who won the bid to construct the recently commissioned Dodo-Pepeso section of the Eastern Corridor Road. Joynews checks revealed that he was the only African who received a portion of the expensive road project.
What is more is that Joynews has gathered that there are moves to award him an 82 million cedis contract through sole sourcing.
Reacting to the issue on Joynews, Dean of the Central University School of Law, Professor Ken Attefuah said the conduct of President Mahama has clearly violated the constitution.
“This is a clear breach of the provision of our law,” he said, adding “Article 284 of the Constitution provide that a public officer which the President is shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or it’s likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.”
Commenting on the issue, Executive secretary at the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Linda Ofori Kwafo, admitted the President has not only violated the Constitution but also the CHRAJ guidelines on conflict of interest.
She explained, “The CHRAJ Conflict of Guidelines came into being in 2006 and the issue of gifts is very similar to that in the Public Office Conduct,” and that “It is very worrying to hear public officials defend this.”
Governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Dayi, George Loh described the gift as “nothing,” saying “It is not like a personal gift given to the president.”
But some New Patriotic Party (NPP) minority members in parliament have meanwhile called for the President to resign while they consider starting impeachment proceedings against him.