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General News of Thursday, 16 June 2016

Source: Class FM

Mahama should’ve rejected car gift – Edward Mahama

Considering that Ghana is a country that has been riddled with corruption over the years, President John Dramani Mahama should not have accepted the Ford Expedition gift offered by Burkinabe contractor Djibril Kanazoe, the flagbearer of the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Dr Edward Mahama has said.

Critics including the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) – local arm of anti-graft body Transparency International (TI), as well as opposition MPs, have said the President’s acceptance of the car gift smacked of conflict of interest and bribery, respectively.

Mr Djibril Kanazoe, who has been given a series of contracts by the Government of Ghana, including a $650,000 deal to fence a tract of land around Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso, gifted the SUV to Mr Mahama in 2012, investigations done by Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure Awuni has exposed.

Speaking in an interview with Prince Minkah, host of the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class 91.3 FM on Thursday June 16, Dr Mahama said: “May be he [Mr Mahama] influenced the choice of this particular contractor and, therefore, it [car gift] can be construed as bribe. And if I were him, I wouldn’t take it.”

“Considering that we [Ghanaians] know that our country is riddled with corruption, if I were His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, I wouldn’t take the gift knowing that this guy is bidding for the contract because when you do that and your subordinates also extort and say they are gifts, are you going to discipline them?” Dr Mahama asked.

Meanwhile, a presidential staffer, Dr Clement Apaak has said the exposé is a shabby attempt to sully the president’s image and reputation.

Dr Apaak, in defence of the president told Prince Minkah that: “Ideally, I think this statement should put this attempt to try and malign the good image of our president to rest.”

“If you had taken the pain to go through the so-called exposé and you listen very attentively, you’d notice (the types of persons, who were featured) it is clear that it’s indeed a very poor attempt to malign the image and reputation of the president and it is not going to fly”.

“First of all, I don’t know any Ford Explorer [sic] that will cost up to $100,000; I don’t know if you know that but that in itself is a very questionable attribution to make. Secondly, I don’t know of anyone, who takes a bribe and then allows that to be documented. If you had listen to Ghana’s Ambassador to Burkina Faso at the time, who is on record …to have received the gift, and then [brought] it across the border with documentation, then it certainly begs the question. I mean, you and I know that if somebody is going to take a bribe, and indeed the intent is to take a bribe, which is an illegality, you don’t get it documented, but this vehicle from where it came from, was properly documented and brought into this country before it got to its final destination, and when it got there, it was not registered in the name of the president or a member of his family. It was registered in the name of the republic of Ghana and then added to the pool of vehicles for use by the office of the president, so how do you describe this as a bribe? And in any case, truly, are they saying that our nation Ghana has been bribed with a Ford Explorer? You see, the vehicle is there for use by the state. It is not there for the use of His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama. Quite certainly, the man [Djibril Kanazoe] said that he was the one that gave the gift to [the president] but the recipient of the gift, when the gift got to him, the processes that were deployed and the final use of that gift certainly do not connote or even in the wildest imagination of any fair-minded person, suggest an act of bribery,” Dr Apaak explained.