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Mon, Sep

CHRAJ begins enquiry into Ford Expedition gift to President Mahama

Mr Richard Quayson - the Acting Commissioner of CHRAJ

A team of investigators of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has been put together to thoroughly investigate petitions against President John Mahama for receiving a Ford Expedition vehicle gift from a Burkinabe contractor.

Confirming that CHRAJ had received President Mahama’s response to the petitions, the acting Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, told the Daily Graphic that some of CHRAJ’s best investigators were working to thoroughly investigate the matter.

He said the commission would endeavour to conclude investigations by the last quarter of the year.

Mr Quayson was reticent about an ongoing investigation but explained that investigations were being conducted within the ambit of CHRAJ's constitutional instrument, CI 67, detailing how such investigations were to be carried out.

He added that the investigators would independently go all out to verify facts, clarify issues and resolve any conflicting versions presented by the petitioners, on the one hand, and the President, on the other, following an investigative work by a Joy FM journalist, Mr Manasseh Awuni Azuri, who first broke the news of the gift of a Ford Expedition from the Burkinabe contractor to the President.

“That will be done before any of the parties is consulted to give any clarifications on whatever they have presented to the commission.

"We do this to independently clarify the facts as presented by the parties,” Mr Quayson said.

Dismiss petitions

In June this year, Joy FM broadcast an investigative piece by Mr Azure that the President had received a Ford Expedition vehicle gift from a Burkinabe contractor.

The contractor, apart from winning a contract to fence the country’s embassy in Burkina Faso, is also said to have won bids in the road construction sector.

Civil society organisations and some Ghanaians are of the view that the President is complicit in accepting the gift, as it is against the code of conduct for public officers in the country.

The CHRAJ, upon petitions from the Minority in Parliament, the Youth Wing of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) wrote to the President for his side of the matter.

The President, through his lawyer, Mr Tony Lithur, responded on July 18, 2016, saying that he was not aware when the gift was sent to him and that he consigned the vehicle for the use by the state when the gift was brought to his attention.

Mr Lithur asked CHRAJ to dismiss the petitions, as they were without foundation

Writer’s email: [email protected]