|The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has explained that it dismissed the ford gift petition against President John Mahama because the President did not contravene the 1992 constitution in accepting the gift.
According to CHRAJ, at the end of its preliminary investigation, it came to the conclusion that based on the extensive evidence assembled, the allegations that the President contravened Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution by putting himself in situations of conflict of interest was not substantiated.
Consequently, the commission held the view that full or further investigations into the allegations were not warranted and therefore dismissed the allegations.
A 78-page extensive decision by CHRAJ on the matter, a copy of which was available to Graphic Online covered the genesis of the saga from the time the story was aired by Joy FM in June this year, to the various media publications, the subsequent petitions by individuals and groups, and the in-depth investigations by CHRAJ, which included the review of audio and video footages and various extensive interviews with ministers and public servants.
The issues that triggered the investigative powers of CHRAJ in the preliminary investigation were contained in petitions by three complainants, the National Youth League of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and Nana Adofo Ofori.
Below is the 13 issues considered and the subsequent decision taken by CHRAJ on it
Issue 1: Whether the acceptance of the Ford Expedition vehicle by the Respondent [President Mahama] contravened existing Gift Policy under the Code of Conduct for Public Officers
Decision: The Commission is satisfied that the gift in question forms part of gifts prohibited under the Gift Policy under the Code of Conduct. Although the evidence show that the Respondent subsequently surrendered the gift to the State, the action nonetheless contravened the gift policy.
Issue 2: Whether the acceptance of the gift by the Respondent placed him in a conflict of interest situation under the Code of Conduct for Public Officers and Conflict of Interest Rules?
Decision: Having reviewed the evidence on the actions and conduct of the Respondent after the gift was made, the Commission is satisfied that his actions and conduct sufficiently dealt with any conflict of interest that could have been occasioned. In the circumstances, the Commission finds that the Respondent did not put himself in a conflict of interest situation or contravene the conflict of interest rules under Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution.
Issue 3: Whether the Vehicle which is said to be a brand new vehicle at the time it entered Ghana was cleared at Tema Port as a used car in order to undervalue it and pay less duty.
Decision: On the basis of the evidence, the Commission is satisfied with the explanation from the GRA that the vehicle was assessed in accordance with sections 89 & 91 of Act 330, and not described as used vehicle to undervalue the duty payable. The term “used” therefore, is not synonymous with the term “secondhand” vehicle.
Issue 4: If the Vehicle was declared as “used” when it was “new” on entry into Ghana, whether the State suffered a loss of revenue
Decision: In the absence of direct evidence to the contrary, the Commission accepts that the duty paid on the vehicle was the regular duty payable under the law, and therefore the State did not lose revenue on the vehicle.
Issue 5: Whether the Registration details of the Vehicle can be found at the DVLA and if so, in whose name was the Vehicle Registered
Decision: On the evidence available, the Commission is satisfied that the vehicle is registered and used as State property in same manner as other operational vehicles at the Presidency.
Issue 6: Whether the Vehicle has been added to the Presidential pool and if it has, when was it added?
Decision: Based on the overwhelming evidence before the Commission, the Commission is satisfied and finds as a fact that the vehicle was received and added to the Presidential Pool on 2nd November, 2012.
Issue 7: Whether the Respondent has perpetrated fraud on people of Ghana by representing to Ghanaians that Ouedrago Cheik Mohammed was actually the importer of the vehicle in question when indeed the vehicle was transported by road with personnel from both Ghana Embassy at Burkina Faso and Ghana Boarder at Paga through to Accra.
Decision: On the basis of the available evidence, the Commission finds clearly stated on the face of the Customs Temporary Vehicle Importation permission duly stamped and signed by Customs officials the name of Ouedraogo Cheick Mohammed as the owner/driver and therefore finds the allegation of the perpetration of fraud on Ghanaians on the part of the Respondent totally misconceived and unsupported by the evidence.
Issue 8: Whether the Gift was given with intent to corrupt the Respondent and whether the Respondent knew that Djibril Kanazoe made him the gift with intent to corrupt the Respondent
Decision: The Commission is satisfied with the actions of the Respondent after the gift was made, and accordingly finds that his conduct was not consistent with that of a person who had been corrupted by a gift or improperly influenced by same.
Issue 9: Whether the acceptance of the gift (Ford) amounts to a bribe.
Decision: The Commission accordingly finds that the circumstances under which the gift was delivered to the Respondent, and conduct of the Respondent after the gift was made sufficiently rebuts the presumption of acceptance of a bribe by a public officer.
Issue 10: Whether due process and procedure were followed by public officials in the award of contracts
Decision: On the strength of the evidence, the Commission is satisfied that the procurement process and procedure were regular and within the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), in particular, Section 43(1).
In the absence of direct evidence to the contrary, the Commission accepts the evidence of the Public Officials involved that the contracts were awarded regularly and in the normal course of their duties.
Issue 11: Whether the Ministry of Roads and Highways was in the process of “handpicking” Djibril Kanazoe for the award of an 28-kilometer Wa-Hamile Road worth GHC82,000.000.00. because of the gift of the vehicle to the Respondent.
Decision: Under the circumstance, the Commission finds the allegation that the Ministry of Roads and Highways was in the process of awarding the contract for the construction of the 28 kilometre Wa-Hamile road worth GHC82, 000,000.00 to Djibril Kanazoe through sole sourcing speculative and not supported by the evidence.
Issue 12: Whether the Respondent influenced the award of contracts
Decision: In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the Commission reiterates its earlier finding that the evidence do not show that the Respondent influenced the award of the two contracts won by Djibril Kanazoe or his company, Oumarou Kanazoe Construction Limited.
Issue 13: Whether the Respondent has conducted himself in a manner that has violated Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana by a receipt of a gift of the vehicle
Decision: In the circumstances, the Commission is satisfied that the Respondent’s conduct did not violate Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Article 287 (2) the 1992 Constitution makes provision for what the Commission may do in respect of the results of its investigation:
The Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice or the Chief Justice, as the case may be, may take such action as he considers appropriate in respect of the results of the investigation or admission.