It would be offensive to say the president is ignorant in receiving bribe. Appropriately so if the allegations of bribery resulting in conflict of interest being cited in the case of some supposed exposé by a journalist is anything to go by.
It is unthinkable to assume a public servant with the experience of the kind you can find in the president John Dramani Mahama, from a Member of Parliament for many years, to Vice President then, would be so clueless, to leave paper traces of a bribe received.
What this establishes is a clear indication of a personality that cannot be compromised on his duty to the state. The evidence being relied upon can only establish a ‘lazy’ corrupt person. Mr. President might have to see some of them for tutorials in bribe collection because he has proven to be ignorant in that field.
It has become important to author this article at this very crucial moment that the facts of the case are virtually out. I do not intent to bore you with too many matters raised, but, for the purpose of posterity, it is important to raise some salient issues that would stay for future generations to refer and get educated on the events of today.
The line of arguments kept shifting as the issue become clear. However, the main content of the original video released remain the same. On this basis, I shall delve into the discussion touching on the literature from several perspectives.
It is established that the said vehicle was donated to the then Vice President John Mahama through the Ghana’s Ambassador to Burkina Faso then. He in turn, documented the gift and made the necessary arrangements for its transfer.
It had also been established that the vehicle, upon arrival, was directed to be added to the pool of vehicles at the president. A clear indication that the then Vice President did not take the vehicle for his personal use as the supposed exposé contained.
How a bribe received became documented, transferred, received, and added to the fleet of cars at the presidency but not taken by the ‘bribee’ and its associated corrupt act, is a subject yet to be established.
Perhaps, those who sought to hang on some supposed contract awarded to the one supposed to have given the bribe after the act, which was equally reported to have been given on sole sourcing basis, may suffice. However, that was proven to be false.
For the purpose of this discussion, sole sourcing under the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663) is the procurement practice where a single supplier is picked to supplier works, goods and/or services. For sole sourcing to be justified under the law, the works, goods and/or services must be required under emergency situation where competitive tendering would result in loss for the conditions needed, and where there is a sole supplier to the works, goods or services required which would mean opening tender would be a waste of time.
It was established, that, the issue at hand was not conducted based on the position contained in the allegation. The said contract was advertised under the procurement law on the basis of International Competitive Biding/Tendering where three contractors had bided for the job.
It had also emerged that upon the evaluation of tender, the bidder with the lowest quotation was selected. This selected bidder happened to be the man in the center of this bribe allegation.
In bidding, a contract might not necessarily be awarded to the lowest bidder. It might not necessarily be awarded to the highest bidder. However, the scope of work would determine who qualifies. The tender evaluation process is the only qualified process to establish that. Once their decision had resulted in the selection of the said contractor, unless one can prove wrongdoing, the process can pass under the Public Procurement Law.
So long as no one has been able to establish that the procurement process was interfered with by the president and the contract awarded to the person of interest, I am yet to be convinced of any wrongdoing.
Juxtapose this to what we were told of the stadium contracts that resulted in the lingering Woyome saga where president John Agyekum Kufour was reported to have ordered for the procurement process to be set aside and the contract awarded to a contractor he handpicked.
This is different. The procurement process was observed under the law and a contract awarded. On this basis, any allegations that fails to establish the involvement of the president in the process resulting in the selection of the said contractor falls flat, and can only be classified as a maliciously calculated publication to chip into a solid character for interests best known to the architects.
If we would allow truth to lead us, we will come to understand that no president awards contracts unless it is established that there were interference. The ministries and bodies under which procurement takes place are those who conduct processes of procurement.
Then another position is being reported to have been taken by the Minority in Parliament threatening to impeach the president. That would be a very interesting exercise to follow as we would have witnessed how this case would be established.
In all of these discussions, one very significant issue is lost on us. Those attacking the president for wrongdoing are unable to cite the constitutional provision breached by the president, the grounds for a valid impeachment process to be conducted.
Some who took strong views on this matter have hanged on conflict of interest as the basis for wrongdoing. In my understanding, conflict of interest arises when an act of a public official results in his or her inability to undertake his or her function in office and where acting would have benefited a person from whom a favour was received when naturally, the person should not have had that consideration from the public official.
To those who are forcefully pushing to tag the president as corrupt, no sufficient grounds have been established so far. This is because all that have been presented have failed to establish the offense of the president.
In conclusion, rather unfortunately, the president had lost his mother whose funeral is to be performed soon. Would he be said to have received bribe for receiving gifts from friends and sympathizers who come to mourn with him even if someone who would have shown him a gesture later wins a government contract?
If the president could be rich to, in the allegations of the NPP, procure two Toyota V8 for Kwabena Agyapong and Mr. Paul Afoko, how difficult would it be to buy one Ford Expedition which is much more cheaper than one V8?
How possible could it be to value a 2008 model of the said vehicle at $100,000 when 2016 model of the same vehicle is between the ranges of $65,000 and $70,000. I would dare challenge the accusers to do more to prove a case. As of now, the entire exercise has failed to produce any positive result. The president is squeaky clean.