Three months to Ghana’s general elections, the country’s parliament has initiated moves to impeach President John Mahama. The legislators who were on recess have been recalled for resumption on Thursday, September 1, by the Speaker, Joe Adjaho in order to begin debate on the issue.
The President is alleged to have received an expensive car (Ford) as ‘gift’ from a contractor and national of Burkina Faso. Opposition parties and a cross section of Ghanaians, however, insist the present was a bribe.
The country’s constitution bars a sitting President or political office holder from collecting a gift, either in cash or kind.
But reacting to the allegation, Information Minister, Edward Boamah, 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 allegations of corruption.
Boamah cited former Minister of Transport, Mrs. A. Attivor, and three other party faithful facing trial to buttress his assertion.
In a statement, Bohama 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 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 two-thirds majority to scale the impeachment through.