President John Mahama has described as baseless, corruption allegations levelled against him.
The president has received a lot of flak from anti-graft bodies and opposition parties recently over a revelation that he received a Ford Expedition from a Burkinabe contractor, who, in turn, was awarded with a number of contracts by the government of Ghana.
On his Accounting to the People tour in Tema on Wednesday June 22, Mr Mahama challenged his accusers to use the appropriate constitutional processes against him if, indeed, they had any evidence of corruption against him, adding that peddling of such rumours will not win him the elections.
“Elections are about telling the people what you want to do for them, and, so, I am going round and telling the people what I intend to do. And, so, if you think you can do better, you also go to the people and say what you will do if you are elected. But when you have no message and you stick to allegations of corruption, baseless. The constitutions prescribed what should be done if a person is corrupt. I have been president of this country and if you believe I have been indulged in corruption, you have the constitutional means to do what you want to do. But when you make baseless rumours and allegations, it won’t win you the presidency. The people of Ghana are discerning and I believe that come November 7, they will make their decision, but I am convinced by the grace of the almighty God that Ghanaians have seen the work we have done and they know that given the opportunity, we shall do even more than that”, Mr Mahama said.
Hours before the president’s remarks, the opposition New Patriotic Party had challenged him to speak for himself and in his own defence as far as the controversy surrounding his receipt of the car gift was concerned.
The government, through a statement issued by Minister of Communications Dr Edward Omane Boamah said the gift was added to the Flagstaff House’s car pool and was neither received personally by the president or had been used by him.
Dr Omane Boamah also said the gift did not in any way influence Mr Mahama, as far as the award of contracts by the government of Ghana to his benefactor Mr Djibril Kanazoe was concerned.
A private citizen as well as the youth wing of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on the matter. The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) also intends doing same. Anti-graft body Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has said the acceptance of the gift amounted to conflict of interest. Pressure group OccupyGhana has also argued same and called for a probe into the matter, just as has been advocated by the Minority in Parliament.
Addressing journalists on the matter at a press conference on Wednesday June 22, the NPP’s acting chairman Freddie Blay said: “We [NPP] have followed with very keen interest the discussions since the news broke last week and we want to state the New Patriotic Party’s view on the matter. Our view is simple: this matter must be probed further to its logical conclusion.”
As far as Mr Mahama’s silence on the saga is concerned, Mr Blay wondered: “Are we now being told that when it comes to matters of corruption and integrity, there must be one law for President Mahama and his ministers and staffers on the one hand and another law for everybody else in the country? The president, who is personally and directly involved in this bribery allegation has, thus far, refused to speak, or has not yet spoken on the matter, choosing instead to let his paid spokesperson [do the talking]. Our message is simple to His Excellency, the president, and the message is: Mr President, please speak on your own behalf and in your own defence! The giver, your friend, Mr Kanazoe, has confessed that he has given his friend, you in particular, and government, who have since helped him to secure government contracts, a sports utility vehicle.”