WHO: Commission on Human Rights and
Administrative Justice (CHRAJ); Convention Peoples Party (CPP)
Youth League; Secretary of CPP Youth League-Hardi
Yakubu; Tony Lithur-Lawyer for President John Dramani
Mahama; Burkinabe contractor, Mr. Djibril Kanazoe; the
Progressive Peoples Party (PPP); Vitus Azeem, former Executive
Director of policy think-tank, Ghana Integrity Initiative
WHAT: Whoever thought the popular
"Ford Expedition Saga"- involving President Mahama and
Burkinabe contractor, Kanazoe, was over, should think
Comfort Akosua Edu, Head of Public Relations and Communications
for CHRAJ, told Citi FM in an interview early this week that CHRAJ
is conducting a probe stemming from the three petitions brought
before it alleging wrongdoing. The youth wing of the CPP, the PPP
and a private citizen all petitioned CHRAJ to probe Mahama's
receipt of a 2010 Ford Expedition vehicle (valued at US$100,000) as
gift from Kanazoe.
This revelation was made public following the emergence of an
investigation by award-winning journalist, Manasseh Azure. The
gift was made in 2012, prior to the award of two contracts to the
contractor (but in the same year): firstly, for the construction of
a wall around a parcel of land at Ghana's Embassy in
Ouagadougou, at a cost of US$650,000 and secondly, the construction
of the 46.4km Dodo-Pepesu road in the Volta Region, which was
funded by the European Union at a cost of about US$36 million.
In a statement released by the Information Ministry, the
president admitted receipt of the car but added the car to the
fleet of state vehicles at the Flagstaff House and issued a
letter through his lawyer, Tony Lithur, asking the
commission to dismiss the conflict of interest allegations.
WHEN: On Monday, 8th August, 2016,
Edu confirmed on Citi FM that the commission has started a
preliminary investigation into the issue. After this initial
investigation, CHRAJ will decide on the next course of action to
WHY: By the power vested in CHRAJ under
the 1992 Constitution, the body is mandated to
"investigate complaints of violations of fundamental
human rights and freedoms, injustice and corruption...by public
officers in the exercise of their duties", as stated in the
CHRAJ Act (Act 456). Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Joseph Whittal
has expressed a readiness for CHRAJ to exercise the full extent of
OUTLOOK: The response from CHRAJ to begin
an investigation into the petition points to the independence of
the anti-corruption institution. If the preliminary investigation
ascertains that the president erred, a court action might be
brought against him. Again, parliament can take up the findings if
he is found guilty and commence an impeachment exercise. But the
fact that the CHRAJ boss, Richard Quayson, is only in an acting
capacity, may undermine his ability to conduct a full
investigation. The oft-cited challenge of a lack of resources for
CHRAJ could well hamper the work of the commission. In a discussion
with Songhai Analyst Emmanuel Amoah-Dankwah, Azeem-former Executive
Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), said that there are
"no clear sanctions for conflict of interest" in this
case. "If [the President] is found culpable, he might be asked
[by CHRAJ] to return the car [to the contractor]".
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