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Ghana president under fire over $100,000 car gift
According to reports, in 2012 Mahama received a vehicle from Djibril Kanazoe, a Burkinabe contractor, who was awarded a $650 000 contentious deal to build a security wall at Ghana’s embassy in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou.
This response is a ‘Kwaku Ananse story’ [a fable]
A government spokesperson Boamah Omane issued a statement soon after reports about the gift surfaced on Wednesday confirming Mahama received the 2010 Ford Expedition model but said the gift was not linked to the contract in Burkina Faso.
“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,” Omane said.
However, critics said the government’s response was not convincing and called for a thorough investigation into the saga.
“This response is a ‘Kwaku Ananse story’ [a fable]. I doubt it came from the government, we are waiting for the real response,” one of the critics Sulemana Braimah posted on his Facebook page.
Anti-corruption activists accused Mahama of ‘blatantly disregarding’ Ghana’s conflict of interest guidelines and violating the constitution.
Article 284 of the country’s constitution says a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his or her personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with performance of the functions of his or her office.
Linda Ofori Kwafo, the Ghana Integrity Initiative director Linda Ofori Kwafo said “the whole thing is a conflict of interest” when she commented on the scandal.
Ken Attefuah, a university lecturer said “this is a clear breach of the provision of our law,” adding that there could be grounds for Mahama’s impeachment.
Constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs committee member, Joe Osei-Owusu said Mahama’s acceptance of the gift was “very shameful and makes him a corrupt leader.”
“The man – the 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 is taking bribes for petty things like this,” he charged.
Kwame Boateng Acheampong, a lawyer said appropriate provisions in Article 284 of the constitution could be used to impeach Mahama for allegedly bringing the office of the president into ridicule and embarrassing the country.
“I believe with these facts that have come out, it may end up grounding serious charges for impeachment,” he said.
The car was allegedly delivered through the Ghana and Burkina Faso border in the north with documents that stipulated it was a gift to Mahama.
Kanazoe, an influential contractor in West Africa is said to have received numerous contracts from the Ghana government and is also the only African to have won a bid to construct portions of Accra’s Eastern-Corridor road, one of the most expensive projects in the country.
There are also plans to award Kanazoe an 82 million cedis contract without going to tender, media reports alleged.
In 2014, attempts by a parliamentary committee to force the central bank to investigate the $650,000 Ghana embassy security wall hit were thwarted by the government.
Ghana’s “code of ethics for ministers and political appointees” states among other things that a conflict of interest “may arise if a minister’s family or personal friends might derive, or be perceived as deriving some personal, financial or other benefits from a decision or action by the minister or the government.”