Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper Kwesi Pratt Jnr has dismissed claims that President Mahama has compromised his integrity by accepting a gift from a Burkinabe contractor.
According to him, the president as well as any public official is allowed to accept gifts, and it would be wrong for anyone to describe such a gif as a bribe.
“I find it very surprising when I hear people talking about bribe as in the case of the president. In fact, I see nothing wrong with the gift to the president because he is entitled and allowed to accept gifts or whatsoever. Why is it possible that anybody at all can receive gifts and not the president” he quizzed.
Kwesi Pratt’s comments come in the wake of a raging controversy about the propriety or otherwise of the president accepting a gift from a contractor.
This was after a Joy News investigation by Manasseh Azure Awuni revealed that a Burkinabe contractor, Mr. Djibril Kanazoe gave a luxury Ford Expedition vehicle to the President in 2012.
He had won two contracts from government, raising questions about the propriety of the gift. According to a code of ethics for ministers and public servants, a gift received should not be more than $50. The luxury vehicle is reportedly valued at $100,000.
However Mr. Pratt, who believes the issue about bribery does not arise in the first place because the circumstances surrounding the said vehicle were "transparent," insisted that the cost of the vehicle has been deliberately inflated.
“I know the cost of the vehicle may not be important to some people but per research conducted, I can tell you that the cost of the said vehicle has been inflated because the last time I checked, it was far below the amount purported.
“The deliberate inflation of the cost of vehicle is strange and I know it was just to make the public believe that the president indeed was bribed” he asserted.
Meanwhile the Burkinabe contractor has pulled out of a GHC82million bid to construct a 28-kilometre road.
Roads and Highways Minister Alhaji Inusah Fuseini told Joy FM on Thursday that Djibril Kanazoe expressed disinterest in the contract.
On Friday June 17, the Progressive People’s Party at a press conference addressed by its chairman, Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, said the president would be better served standing down as leader and giving up his ambition to seek the mandate of Ghanaians for a second four-year term
"The President should admit his inability to lead the anti-corruption crusade and therefore refuse to contest for re-election on the ticket of the NDC," he said, adding: "We are asking him to step aside so that investigations can go on as in the case of Richard Anane...when he is absolved, he can come back..."