THE PROGRESSIVE People’s Party (PPP) says it will drag President John Dramani Mahama before the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), for accepting a Ford expedition vehicle worth about $100,000 from a Burkinabe contractor.
Speaking on Citi Eyewitness News, the policy adviser for the PPP, Kofi Siaw Asamoah, cited some sections of the constitution to defend the party’s decision to take such an action against the President.
“We are inspired by Article 218 of the constitution and also Article 287, where if you believe that a public officer has violated a provision of the constitution, CHRAJ must be petitioned. We believe that the circumstances surrounding the offer of a gift of a Ford expedition to President Mahama violates Article 284 of the constitution, it violates the President’s own code of conducts published for Ministers of State, and it is an action that also may be bound if you read Article 69, for impeachment, because it is a gross misconduct on the part of his excellency the President.”
The PPP will not be the first to drag a sitting President before CHRAJ over bribery allegations.
Former President John Kufuor was caught in a similar situation during his administration after it was alleged that he used state resources to renovate his residence at Airport in Accra.
The PPP had prior to the intended CHRAJ action, called on the President to step aside and allow for investigations into his conduct, or face them in court.
Minority to impeach Mahama
The Minority in Parliament had also hinted of a possible impeachment process against President Mahama over the development.
According to the Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Joe Osei-Owusu, the gift was a bribe to influence the President to give out juicy deals to the said contractor, citing a conflict of interest.
“We planned and organised our constitution such that the President will not be in need. How many vehicles are in the presidential pool and how many vehicles can he not have? Does he need this gift? Does the state need this gift from a contractor? Why didn’t he [contractor] reduce the cost of the project rather? Some decisions are not personal, whether to impeach the President or not, whether it is right or legal but whether it is politically right is another issue,” he said.
What does the constitution say?
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.”
This constitutional provision has informed a new bill, Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2013, presented by cabinet to Parliament.
According to Section 21 (b) a public officer many not “ accept a gift, favour or an advantage that has the potential to influence the proper discharge of the public officer’s functions or judgment, from a person with whom the public officer comes into contact in relation to the public officer’s functions.