Ghanaian president may be impeached over car ‘gift’

Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama

Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama

Ghana’s parliament has initiated moves to impeach President John Mahama with three months to the nation’s general elections.

Though the legislators are on recess, the Speaker, Joe Adjaho, has recalled them for resumption Thursday, September 1, to begin debate on the issue.

Mahama is alleged to have received an expensive car (Ford) as ‘gift’ from a contractor and national of Burkina Faso but opposition parties and a cross section of Ghanaians, have, however, insisted the present was a bribe.

According to the country’s constitution, a sitting President or political office holder is barred from collecting a gift, either in cash or kind.

Edward Boamah, the Information Minister, reacting to the allegation argued that Mahama’s government is the only one in the history of the country that has dragged its officials and party members to court over corruption allegations.

Boamah cited former Minister of Transport, Mrs. A. Attivor, and three other party faithful facing trial to buttress his assertion.

Boamah in a statement said Mahama and the contractor had been friends, since the time he (Mahama) was Vice-President.

He explained that Mahama had attended the funeral for the contractor’s father and that the car had been a donation from the Burkinabe’s family, a token of cordial relationship.

The contractor, a very successful businessman, was said to have won many deals following the gift.

The car was registered in the President’s name.

It was only a few months ago that an investigative journalist, Manasseh Azuri, unearthed the matter, sparking widespread criticism from the Ghanaian public.

The Presidency has confirmed that Mahama received the car. It, however, said the item had been donated to the presidential fleet. It vehemently denied the car was a bribe.

Opposition parties are insisting the donation might have been made after the issue became public.

The parliament has 275 members, the opposition 148. The legislature needs a two-thirds majority to scale the impeachment through.

Currently, the leading presidential candidates are Mahama (NDC); Nara Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo (NPP), son of the former Head of State Akuffo Addo; and Pa Kwesi Ndum, a business mogul of the People’s Progressives Party (PPP).

All three are holding extensive campaigns throughout the country.

Of them all, Mahama, son of a chieftain of late Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP), is the most politically experienced.