NPP demands bipartisan probe into Mahama Ford gift

The opposition New Patriotic Party has demanded a bipartisan probe into the Ford gift received by President John Mahama from a foreign contractor.

The Ford Expedition vehicle which was given to the president in 2012 by a Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, has raised questions about a possible conflict of interest.

Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah has said, the gift has been in a pool at the Presidency. He maintained the vehicle had nothing to do with two contracts won by the contractor  – a $650,000 wall and a 28-kilometre road.

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says it has begun a detailed assessment of two petitions brought before it accusing the president of conflict of interest on the matter.

Its Deputy Commissioner, Joseph Whittal promised the public it would not allow any political pressure to interfere with its investigations.

“I will like to assure Ghanaians that the Commission will live up to its constitutional responsibility in ensuring that thorough investigation is done and we will not sacrifice the thoroughness of the outcome of the investigation on the altar of the issues that may border on elections.”

But the NPP is not convinced. The party’s Acting Chairman, Freddie Blay at a press conference in Accra Wednesday, June 22, 2016 said the president must show humility and admit he is wrong.

The president, according to him, should not “hide behind government communicators to further insult the intelligence of Ghanaians and all who are rightfully disappointed by this gratuitous damage to the dignity of his office and the country.”

“The cost of building that Ouagadougou wall must be probed; the issues surrounding the Ford Expedition must also be probed. All other contracts awarded to Mr Kanazoe, the president’s friend, we insist must be probed.”

The NPP believes, president Mahama by accepting the gift displayed an extraordinarily poor judgment and indiscretion “unbecoming of the elevated office he occupies.”

“We are therefore calling for a parliamentary probe for the House to exercise its vested investigative power or act in pursuant to Article 2789 (C) to cause a bipartisan inquiry to be appointed to probe into this serious matter.”

“The President of the Republic stands accused of bribery, abuse of office and conflict of interest,” he added.

Mr Blay noted that the circumstantial evidence linking the president to the contractor and the contract to the gift provides enough grounds for Ghanaians to get a full public enquiry into the matter.