The circumstances under which the president of Ghana accepted a car gift was very shameful and makes him a corrupt leader, Ranking Member for Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Joe Osei-Owusu has alleged.
The legislator was reacting to the revelation that President John Mahama received a car gift from a Burkinabe contractor who was incidentally awarded a $650,000 contract to fence a parcel of land for Ghana's Embassy in that country.
According to the Member of Parliament (MP), "The man (contractor) is getting favours as a result of the kickbacks he has paid to the president. We should keep telling Ghanaians that the president is corrupt and taking bribes for petty things like this,” he told Class FM’s parliamentary correspondent, Ekow Annan, on Wednesday June 15.
The government has issued a statement denying that the gift influenced the president in any way.
A 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.”
But Mr Osei-Owusu holds the view that “there is no such thing as a gift in this circumstance”.
According to him, Mr Mahama “should not have even encouraged that kind of relationship such that the person will deliver a vehicle intended for you in Burkina Faso and then it will be driven through the borders with official letters requiring that the vehicle be allowed because it is a gift…I mean it is shameful”.
“Was the gift intended for the state? And it was received by him, not the state. It is not registered in the name of the state, I guess,” the legislator said.
He was of the view that the whole issue was swept under the carpet and the government would have been silent about it had it not been for the revelation by the media.
He felt the press statement issued by the Communications Minister was an “afterthought trying to explain the serious graft that is going on in the government”.
He further explained that legislators drafted Ghana’s constitution in such a way that the president would not be in need of anything.
“How many vehicles are in the presidential pool and how many vehicles can he [Mr Mahama] not have? Does he need this gift? Does the state need this gift from a contractor? Why did he not reduce the cost of the project [as well]?” he questioned.
He admonished that the whole issue “calls for a look at the contract figures again and the cost of the supervision of the work [by the contractor]”.
“For me, this is only the tail end of the story. The whole process, procedure, tendering, following through a big man is a process of bribing the president for something that the connection has given to him,” Mr Osei-Owusu added.
On the issue of interdicting Mr Mahama, the MP indicated that: “Some decisions are not personal whether to impeach the president or not.
“Whether it is right, legal or politically wise is another matter.”