General News Sat, 18 Jun 2016

Gift Saga: Define what constitutes a gift – EITI Board Chairman

The Board Chairman of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global, Daniel Kaufmann, has advised Ghana to clearly define what constitutes a gift and what does not.

In an interview with Citi News, Mr. Kaufman said that Ghanaians must use the scandals that happen as an opportunity to set up regulations that will seek to control corruption.

“…The point is to seize the opportunities, where there is a fall in commodity prices, the UK summit and the commitments made or if there are questions about gifts and not only to focus on the short-term, but to use it to constructively define what constitutes a legitimate versus what would be corrupt,” he said.

“I don’t know if it is part of the regulatory framework here, but any gift should be fully reported. This should not just be in principle and for only authorities, but it should be for everybody to see and scrutinize.” This comes following intense pressure from opposition and some pressure groups on President John Dramani Mahama, for accepting a car gift that is said to be worth over $100,000 from a Burkinabe contractor, allegedly to influence him.

The Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, has admitted giving President Mahama a Ford Expedition vehicle, for which the President called to thank him.

The gift according to reports, was prior to an attempt by the contractor, to win a bid to execute the Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road construction project, but government says the car was only added to the pool of state vehicles, and that it cannot constitute bribery.

I’ve never taken a bribe – Mahama

President Mahama in May this year, boldly declared that he has never accepted a bribe. The President, who was in London to partake in the Anti-Corruption Summit being organised by the UK Government, said this in response to a direct question posed by a BBC Journalist.

In an interview with the BBC on the sidelines of the summit, President Mahama said, “Any human being would have encountered corruption in one way or the other. What you need to do is to put yourself in a position to (resist it)”, the President noted. But when asked was specifically asked if he had ever taken a bribe before, the President was quick to say no, “I haven’t taken a bribe.”

Source: citifmonline.com
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