NPP Equalizing Kufuor’s Kickback Collections

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…Relies On Three-Year Collapsible Data

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), has desperately begun a massive campaign towards equalizing the 2005 revelation by Haruna Esseku that the then President, John Agyekum Kufuor, was collecting cash kickbacks inside the Castle from contractors executing government projects, and that some portion of the cash was dished out to bankroll the then governing NPP.

Strangely, the NPP is using a documented car gift presented to President John Dramani Mahama in October 2012, and exposed to several individual, including Ghana’s Embassy in Burkina Faso, border control officers at Paga, the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council and officers at the Flagstaff House to hang the claim of bribery on the President.

So far, the NPP Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai, Joseph Osei-Owusu, Ken Attafuah, an NPP sympathizer have all claimed a wrongdoing on the part of President Mahama, who according to the Ministry of Communication, promptly released the car; a Ford Expedition valued at about $100,000 into the Flagstaff House fleet.

Haruna Esseku, who was NPP National Chairman, said of President Kufuor at the time that “I don’t know who keeps the money; the only thing I know is that when I go to the Castle, I present the budget to the President, I wait in the President’s office, he reads through the budget and he signals his men”.

The man who was forced to resign as NPP National Chairman, revealed how he spends time chatting with the President and ‘before I go, the money is dumped at the back of my car in bags’.

When Haruna Esseku, was asked at the secret meeting, whether the kickbacks was the only source of finance for the party, and also whether the money was not coming personally from the President, he said that contributions from Ministers and party supporters form an infinitesimal portion of the party’s finances.

On whether the President is not bankrolling the party, he said ‘the money I collect at the Castle, can’t come from his pocket or his allowance, how much is allowance, I know his salary”.

But in separate interviews on the Ford Expedition car, the NPP Communications Director, said President Mahama, disappointed Ghanaians by accepting a gift from the Burkinabe contractor, with lawyer and criminologist Prof. Attafuah, saying the president’s conduct was a “palpable violation” of the code of conduct governing public officers.

Joe Osei-Owusu, the Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, said the car gift was a bribe to influence the President to give out juicy deals to the said contractor, citing conflict of interest.

This is in spite of government’s explanation that, the vehicle is not being used personally by the president but “…was placed in the vehicle pool at the Presidency as per established convention,” said Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah in a statement.

Nana Akomea in particular argues “how can anybody defend this? Upon all the investments that the people of Ghana make in the vice-president and the president – the fleet of V8 high-performance vehicles that we give to the presidency, the fleet of high-performance saloon [vehicles], the aircrafts, the helicopters, the powerful motorbikes – why will our president put himself in this kind of position? It is just horrible.”

He claimed the president’s conduct is in clear breach of his own Code of Conduct for Ministers and Public Servants launched in 2013.

“It is such a terrible embarrassment to the whole country,” he asserted.

Nana Akomea, said attempts to draw parallels between President Mahama’s controversial gift and a vehicle given to President John Kufuor’s government in 2002 by Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi, are tenuous.

He said, diplomatic gifts were very normal and as a minister, whenever he was travelling, he carried boxes of chocolates, Ghanaian dresses among other things, which he gave to his hosts.

“The state of Libya made a donation to the state of Ghana in 2002; the presentation was made at the Castle which was then the Office of President; it was made in the full glare of the media; the keys of the car were given the Chief of Staff and everybody knew about it,” he told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, yesterday.

The NPP Communications Director, said it was untenable for anybody to seek to use that gift to justify President Mahama’s wrongful acceptance of a gift from a contractor.

“It is cheap, it an insult to Ghanaians to even try this kind of trick,” he said.

Speaking on Joy News, Prof. Ken Attafuah, said while it cannot, on the basis of this story, be said that President Mahama, has been corrupt, it is incontrovertible that the president breached the law and code of conduct in accepting the vehicle.

Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana states, “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.”

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Guidelines on Conflict of Interest, also states “A conflict of interest occurs when the promotion of the private interest of the public official results or is intended to result or appears to be or has the potential to result in the following: (a) an interference with the objective exercise of the person’s duties; and (b) an improper benefit or an advantage by virtue of his/her position.

Prof Attafuah, said if at all the code of conduct was observed, it was observed in breach.

But Prof Attafuah, said it was not enough for the government to say the gift was collected and was put in a pool after the fact has been investigated.

He said, there ought to have been transparency in handling the gift and it should have been declared and made public at the time it was taken.

Asked what punitive measures can be taken against the president, Prof Attafuah said the matter can be taken up at the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

The Accra-based Joy FM has accused Djibril Kanazoe, a Burkinabe contractor of bribing President Mahama with an expensive vehicle, a Ford Expedition, in an attempt to win the bid to execute the road construction project. The same contractor had previously executed a US$650,000 contract for the Ghana’s Embassy in Burkina Faso.

Kanazoe was subsequently awarded the over 25 million pounds road contract four years ago, which was commissioned by President Mahama, about two months ago.

Meanwhile the Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has refuted claims that government breached procurement procedures in the award of the Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road project to a Burkinabe contractor.

Responding to accusations that government may have been compromised in the process, Mr. Fuseini said Djibril Kanazoe won the contract on merit and explained that bidding process for that road contract was compliant with the European Union (EU) regulations requiring a competitive bidding process.

“The Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road was an EU funded program and consistent with EU regulations and standards, an award of such a contract will be through international competitive bidding so the contractors that showed interest in that project included international contractors,” the minister said while speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, yesterday.

Mr. Fuseini noted that a number of contractors put in their bids and a committee was constituted comprising of representatives from the EU, consultants on the projects, officials of the Ministry of Roads and Highways and the Ministry of Finance to evaluate the bids.

“When the bids were opened and evaluated, Djibril Umaru Kanazoe was the lowest technically compliant tenderer by EU standards,” according to Mr. Fuseini, hence the awarding to the contract to the Burkinabe contractor.

Joe Osei-Owusu, who cited a conflict of interest situation and insist the gift of a Ford Expedition, was a bribe to influence the President to give out juicy deals to the said contractor, said he side in Parliament was gathering the facts on the case to impeach President Mahama.

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