Finally, the issue of whether or not President John Dramani Mahama lied to the nation when he struggled in his recent BBC interview to create the impression that he had never taken bribe before has been settled, through the outcome of an investigative work carried out by Joy FM’s Manasseh Azuri.
The highlight of the investigative piece is a revelation, and official confirmation, that President Mahama took a brand new Ford Expedition vehicle, worth over $100,000, from a Burkinabe contractor who has executed a number of contracts, secured through sole-sourcing and handpicking, with the president’s obvious influence.
Djibril Kanazoe, who had been looking for contracts in the country over the years, did not seem to be having any success, but the situation, according his own testimony, turned in his favour after somebody led him to see then Vice President Mahama.
He was subsequently handpicked to build the $650,000 Ghana Embassy fence wall in Burkina Faso.
In September 2014, when officials of the Bank of Ghana appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC), it emerged that an amount of $656, 246.48 had been spent on the construction of a fence wall over a parcel of land belonging to the Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso. PAC ordered the Bank of Ghana to investigative what it termed the “outrageous” cost of the project.
It has now emerged that the procurement process was breached to favour President Mahama’s friend.
In his interview with Manasseh, Djibril Kanazoe confirmed he did not bid for the contract and that the Ghana Embassy in Ouagadougou wrote to his company to request price quotations for the project. He submitted the quotes and was eventually selected.
Subsequently, the Burkinabe contractor delivered to President Mahama, the ‘gift’ of a brand new Ford Expedition vehicle in 2012, the same year his company was selected, again through sole-sourcing, to execute more projects.
Section 21 (b) of the Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill 2013 states: “A public officer shall not accept a gift, a 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.”
President Mahama’s Code of Ethics also stipulates: “To avoid the creation or appearance of an obligation, gifts in cash or kind are not to be solicited or accepted from a commercial enterprise or any other organisation. An exception to this would be the acceptance of a presentation made during a visit to an organisation.”
According to Manasseh’s report, Ghana’s Ambassador to Burkina Faso at the time, Chief Dauda Mandiaya Bawumiah, accompanied the vehicle from Ouagadougou to Bolgatanga and handed it over to then Upper East Regional Minister, Mark Owen Woyongo, to be sent to President Mahama in Accra.
Djibril Kanazoe is captured on tape to have said President Mahama acknowledged receipt of the vehicle. “He called and said thank you very much,” the contractor said.
According to the investigations, the vehicle entered Ghana on October 29, 2012, with one Quedraogo Cheik Mohammed as the importer. It was said to have been declared as a “used” vehicle and cleared in Tema on February, 13, 2013.
A duty of GHc23, 646.41 was paid on the vehicle. All other details of the vehicle, including receipt numbers, are captured except the registration details at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority.
Again, it has now emerged that President Mahama’s friend is the only African contractor who won part of the contract on the Eastern Corridor Road Project, one of the biggest road projects ever to be undertaken in Ghana.
The Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road contract, worth €25.9million, was completed and inaugurated in April this year by President John Mahama.
The president lavished lots of praises on his friend while commissioning the road: “I also want to take the opportunity to thank Messrs Oumarou Kanazoe Contractors Limited of Burkina Faso for the very high quality of work they have done on this stretch of road. As I have said, perhaps, this is one of the best quality roads in Ghana today and I will urge the Minister of Road and Highways to bring other contractors to come and see so that they can emulate it in other parts of the country.”
Sir John recently insisted Mahama ‘takes bribe’
Former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, recently said it would be extremely difficult for President Mahama to convince any discerning Ghanaian that he does not take bribe.
According to Sir John, as he is affectionately called, the president’s involvement in the Embraer 190 scandal, for which the late President Mills wanted him investigated, the Armajaro scandal and the abortive STX Korean housing deal were enough for anyone to conclude that he is tainted with corruption.
Embraer 190 scandal
On February, 19, 2009, in his State of the Nation Address, then President Mills told Parliament that his government was reviewing the decision to purchase two executive Presidential jets, adding: "Ghana simply cannot afford the expenditure at this time and we certainly do not need two Presidential Jets."
But at the same time, then chairman of the Armed Forces Council, then Vice President John Mahama, was frantically receiving delegations from Brazil and negotiating the acquisition of five jets, including the most expensive hangar, for this poor nation at the blind side of his President.
According to the then Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Martin Amidu, the late President Mills, suspicious of foul play in the deal, set up a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the acquisition of aircraft for the Armed Forces negotiated by President John Mahama.
“I am shocked that President Mahama has not responded to this allegation of suspicious transactions. This is a clear indication that something fishy took place for which he benefited. That is why he is afraid to confront Martin Amidu over the issue. And in these issues what was at stake was bribe. So you see why President Mahama was hesitant in providing an answer to the question of whether or not he had taken bribe before,” Sir John told the Daily Statesman.
A dangerous undercover investigations by Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the New Crusading Guide identified Armajaro and two other companies as being involved in a multi-million dollar smuggling of cocoa from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire. The three companies were all banned from trading in cocoa in the Western Region.
In its October 30, 2010 edition, The Sunday Times of the United Kingdom reported that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, acting on the request of the Secretary of International Development, Andrew Mitchell, got the British High Commissioner in Ghana to lobby the Presidency to overturn a ban imposed on the British company for breaking the laws of Ghana.
Not long after that, the then British High Commissioner, Nicholas Westcott, accompanied Mr Mahama, then Vice President, to dine with Henry Bellingham, a Minister for Africa at the UK Foreign office in London. Mr Mahama pledged to look into the matter when he returned to Ghana. A few weeks after that, and true to his pledge, the ban was overturned.
Anthony Ward, Chief Executive of Armajaro Holdings and a Conservative party donor, had written a letter to UK cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, the man to whom Mr Ward had donated $63,000, to bring his weight to bear on the Ghana Government.
According to the Sunday Times just days after Mitchell read the letter, Ghana’s then Vice President Mahama was lobbied on behalf of Mr Ward by a Foreign Office Minister at a dinner.
With the UK Minister who made phone call to fix a meeting with then Vice President Mahama said to have received £40,000 for that service, one wonders how much President Mahama received from Anthony Ward for helping to lift the ban.
STX Korean Housing deal
The abortive STX Korean Housing deal is also another example of the fishy deals hanging around the neck of President Mahama. In fact, those in charge of the deal said they had to pay $10,000 for facilitation of the deal which could not see the light of day. The money was not paid to the government. It was paid to an individual. Who was that money paid to? The deal was President Mahama’s brainchild.