Ace journalist and Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper Kwesi Pratt Jnr has downplayed suggestions that President Mahama has compromised his integrity by accepting a gift from a Burkinabe contractor.
Kwesi Pratt who was speaking on ADOM FM a sister station of Joy FM which first reported about the gift, said every President since the days of Dr Kwame Nkrumah has been offered one form of gift or the other and that it is a normal practice.
“I see nothing wrong with the car gift and I think this issue is much ado about nothing. Is there any President since Nkrumah’s days who has never received a gift? I am totally scandalized about some of the commentary I am hearing on this matter. How can anybody conclude the President has taken a bribe? Since when did gifts to our President became a bride? Weren’t we in this country when the Libyan president gave a luxurious plush Mercedes Benz to the then President Kufour sometime in 2007? Did we term that as a bribe? Please let’s move beyond these kind of politics”, Mr Pratt said.
A Burkinabe contractor, Mr. Djibril Kanazoe who has won two contracts awarded by the Ghana government, said his family presented the 2010 Model of the Ford Expedition as a gift.
The gift was given in October 2012.
Government, in a statement, did not deny receiving the gift but said the Ford expedition has been added to the pool of vehicles at the Presidency.
Communications Minister Dr.Omane Boamah added that that the gift in no way influenced the award of subsequent contracts to Mr Kanazoe.
But opinions are sharply divided over whether or not the president’s act constitutes a breach of the code of conduct for public office holders or not.
However Mr. Pratt said the issue about bribery doesn’t even arise in the first place because the transaction regarding the said vehicle was transparent hence cannot constitute an act of bribery.
“Who bribes or accepts bribe and documents it? This is common sense. We do know that the transaction right from the point of giving the car to the Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso right to the point where it arrived at the port was properly documented, written clearly in black and white and so how can you call this bribery? Is that how bribery and corruption takes place?” he asked.
Meanwhile the Burkinabe contractor has pulled out of a GHC82million bid to construct a 28-kilometre road. Roads and Highways Minister Alhaji Inusah Fuseini told Joy FM on Thursday that Djibril Kanazoe expressed disinterest in the contract “some weeks ago”.
Source: Dan Acheampong | Ghana