Ford Gift Saga CHRAJ berated over Mahama's Ford gift report

The president was under investigation for receiving a Ford gift from a Burkinabe contractor who won two contracts after becoming a friend of the president following unsuccessful bids.

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The Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) has come in for criticism for delivering a "problematic" report on the Mahama Ford Gift saga.

The president was under investigation for receiving a Ford gift from a Burkinabe contractor who won two contracts after becoming a friend of the president following unsuccessful bids.

READ MORE:CHRAJ throws out bribery allegation against Mahama

CHRAJ on Thursday exonerated the president of any wrongdoing in accepting the Ford gift from the Burkinabe contractor but said he breached the country's gift policy.

It, however, shied away from sanctioning the president after it found the president guilty of breaching the gift policy.

The report, many anti-corruption crusaders have said, may end up encouraging public officials to accept gifts from businessmen who have business dealings with the government.

"One wonders what signal it’s sending to public officers especially the Minister of Roads and Highways, who has to deal with contractors in the course of official duties in awarding contracts," a former Commissioner of CHRAJ, Justice Emil Short has said.

"I said so because the Commission established that the code of gift for public officers was violated by the president yet it went ahead to dismiss the petition without granting any of the releases,” he told TV3.

Some have said the commission should have been "braver" and "courageous" in finding the president guilty of conflict of interest once it concluded that he breached the gift policy.

The acceptance of the Ford car by the president breached his own code of conduct for government appointees and officials he launched upon assuming office in 2012.

And the president's resolve to fight corruption appears to have been compromised by the ford car saga.

"Ultimately the complaint is that the president, in this case, violated Article 284 of the Constitution that as a public officer he placed himself in a situation where his personal interest was likely to conflict with his public duty," a former chief investigator with CHRAJ said.

“If you go and perform post gift investigations into how the gift was handled you get into the realm of dealing with the conflict of interest situation," Prof Ken Attafuah said on Joy FM's newsfile Saturday.

“Conflict of interest occurs when that person places himself in a position where the conduct is likely to conflict or actually conflicts."

The uproar over CHRAJ's investigation is not first. Under the Kufuor administration, it was accused by National Democratic Congress of whitewashing corrupt practices under former president John Kufuor and his appointees.

“In this case if CHRAJ was able to find as a fact that his Excellency the president was in breach of the policy internment, it ought to have been braver, courageous to go to the next step and find that the conduct so found in the infringement of the policy also constitutes an infringement of Article 284 of the constitution," Prof. Atefuah added.

CHRAJ commenced the investigation after the Commander-in-Chief of the youth league of the Convention People's Party petitioned it.

READ MORE: Mahama has been vindicated - Tony Lithur

Ernesto Yeboah said the outcome of the report shows the president cannot be trusted.

“We elected him to protect the constitution of Ghana now he failed in doing so . The man who is occupying the highest office of the land cannot be trusted...," he told Citi FM. "He has a track record of breaching policies regarding gifts in this country.”

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