A Ghanaian US-based lawyer and academic Professor Stephen Kweku Asare has slammed the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for exonerating President John Mahama in the controversial Ford gift saga.
Prof Azar argues CHRAJ completely misconstrued what conflict of interest means in arriving at its conclusions.
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the youth wing of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and a citizen petitioned CHRAJ to investigate the President following media reports he received a Ford Expedition from a Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, who was subsequently given government contracts.
However, in a 78-page report, CHRAJ cleared the President of bribery, corruption, indicting him for violating the gift policy.
According to CHRAJ, it was satisfied that the gift in question formed part of gifts prohibited under the Gift Policy under the Code of Conduct and that although the evidence show that President Mahama subsequently surrendered the gift to the State, the action nonetheless contravened the gift policy.
CHRAJ said it has evidence showing Mahama surrendered the Ford Expedition gift from the Burkinabe contractor to the State vehicle pool.
The Commission also established the President was not culpable of conflict of interest, or fraud in relation to the manner in which the vehicle was given to him. But speaking on Starr Today the law professor said the Commission got its arguments wrong.
“Your decision need not be influenced; the conflict may arise if it appears that it has the potential to influence you. And that’s why CHRAJ prohibits some types of gifts. Where you receive prohibited gift, it’s not up to you to do whatever you want with the gift.
“The commission has specific things that you can do with the prohibited gift. You cannot just put it in the pool of cars used by your ministry or your school or your work or, no that’s not part of the remedies that CHRAJ provides in its guidelines,” he added.
Prof Asare wants Parliament to reprimand the President for his actions.
“So that’s a problem and the country itself will suffer if nothing happens. In my mind at a minimum Parliament should censor the President”.