The former head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Emile Short, has said the President Mahama damaged Ghana’s reputation when he received a gift of a Ford Expedition vehicle from a Burkina Faso businessman, Djibril Kanazoe.
The businessman went on to win two contracts worth about GH¢100 million from the government, according to a report by Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure-Awuni.
The revelation has provoked a firestorm of controversy and outrage in a section of the public.
There are, however, divisions as to whether the car amounted to a gift or a bribe.
While opposition political parties and some civil society organisations have been emphatic that it was a bribe, government officials and some senior journalists insist that it was a gift.
Commenting on the development on Accra-based Class FM, Mr Short said the allegation was a serious one that affected the image of the president and the country.
He declined to state whether it was a gift or a bribe, but said the matter was likely to be taken to CHRAJ.
“In light of the fact that divergent views have been expressed about whether the gift is a bribe or not, I would not be surprised if the matter goes to CHRAJ. It is a matter of public interest, which affects the image of the country.”
Meanwhile, the majority leader in parliament, Alban Bagbin, has said the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) is within its right to petition CHRAJ on the matter.
He told Accra-based Class FM that such a petition would bring clarity to the matter as there was currently scanty information on it.
He said the PPP would, however, have to provide evidence to the commission.
Mr Bagbin recalled that he was asked to provide evidence, when according to him, he petitioned CHRAJ over a Benz S500 given to former President John Agyekum Kufuor by the late Gaddafi of Libya.
“I took the matter to the human rights commission based on the facts that were available to me and the commission really applied the full rules of the court of law, not the commission, as I expected, and wanted me to prove the argument that the onus then laid on the complainant to adduce evidence,” he said.