The leader of the Majority in Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has dismissed claims that the President compromised his integrity by accepting the Ford gift from the Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe.
Bagbin insisted that the president’s acceptance of the gift did not constitute conflict of interest and rubbished the claims that the gift was meant to influence him in any way.
Speaking in an interview with the host of Eyewitness News Richard Dela Sky on Friday, Alban Bagbin argued that, the president’s decision to give the car to the state absolved him of any misconduct, as was being alleged by the Minority.
“I can say that I know the facts of this case and as one of the global anti-corruption coalition crusaders there is no issue of corruption in this matter.
“There is no conflict of interest in it. I was happy that the veteran commissioner, Emile Short himself stated that there was no issue of conflict of interest. I cannot take my views away from being an MP on the side of the NDC.
“I am an NDC MP, but I am sharing my experience as one of the longest-serving members of Parliament in Ghana.
“I have been in the global crusade to fight corruption and I moved the motion in the Parliament of Canada to establish the global organization of parliamentarians against corruption. I have been to so many global anti-corruption conferences and I know for a fact that there is no conflict of interest or corruption in this matter.”
Nothing wrong with Mahama’s gift
The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho on Thursday, dismissed the motion filed by the Minority to initiate a probe into the gift by Parliament.
The Minority believed that, the President acted inappropriately, given his position, by accepting the gift from the Burkinabe contractor.
However, according to Alban Bagbin, it is not unusual for Heads of State, including the President of the United States, to be presented with gifts when they visit other countries, and it would be wrong to assume that the gifts were meant to influence those leaders.
“We have seen that many public officials including Heads of State are given gifts anywhere they go. It’s when you appropriate the gifts to your personal benefit that those issues crop up.
Are we saying that when President Obama visited Ghana and we gave him gifts, those gifts were meant to influence him to take decisions in favour of Ghana? That’s not it. There were some that he decided to donate to institutions, there were others that he took home and declared to the state,” Alban Bagbin said.
“Even the Speakers that we’ve had so far representing the country in many countries, were given gifts. If you go to the Speaker’s office now, you will see some of those gifts still there. Those gifts were given by groups, individuals and states.
That doesn’t mean that they constitute conflict of interest or they were meant to corrupt them.”
The Majority Chief whip in Parliament, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, believes the Minority acted in bad faith by seeking to call for a separate investigation into the gift.
According to him, petitions had already been submitted by both the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), and the youth wing of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, (CHRAJ) to look into the matter.
He argued that the fact that the body mandated to handle such cases has already commenced investigations, it was unnecessary for the minority to call for independent parliamentary investigations into the issue.
“In law, the process of doing something is as important as the matter itself. So you can’t jump the process. All they [Minority] were doing was in bad faith because the matter was being investigated,” he told Citi News.
“If I were them, I would have waited until the matter was finished and then depending on the outcome, they’ll be able to raise what they want to be done.”