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Ghana's president dragged to constitutional body over $100,000 car gift

Ghana's president dragged to constitutional body over $100,000 car gift

Ghana

Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, could be asked to appear before a constitutional body to answer questions on the circumstance surrounding the receipt of a gift of a car from a Burkinabe contractor back in 2012.

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on Tuesday confirmed to local media networks that they had received two petitions in respect of the president’s controversial gift saga.

CHRAJ said it had received two written petitions in respect of the same case, one from a youth wing of one of the country’s political parties and the other from an individual, adding that it had intiated steps that could lead to an investigation.

The moment we get the petition, we should first assess it to see if it is proper and triggering our mandate under chapter 24, we should write to the person concerned, in this case the President.

“The moment we get the petition, we should first assess it to see if it is proper and triggering our mandate under chapter 24, we should write to the person concerned, in this case the President, whether he admits to the contravention or non-compliance allegations made against him, and if he does not admit, then we have to cause an investigation to be carried out and that is where we are now,” a CHRAJ commissioner is quoted to have said.

An investigative report by a local journalist led to the story that has dominated media headlines in the west African country especially with the political season in full swing and with elections due in November.

The president is said to have received a $100,000 Ford Expedition vehicle from a Burkinabe contractor through Ghana’s High Commission in Ouagadougou. With the contractor confirming that the president had called him to thank him for his gesture.

Even though the government spokesperson has confirmed the story, they add that the vehicle was eventually put into the pool of vehicles at the presidency and not at the disposal of the president.

Political players have differed on the propriety of the president’s action with the country’s minority in parliament hinting of a possible impeachment. However some legal practitioners have averred that with the kind of executive presidency that Ghana operates, such processes be it at the level of parliament or of human rights bodies would result in nothing meaningful.