Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako says Joy FM reporter, Manasseh Azure Awuni rushed in drawing conclusions that the car gift President Mahama received was a bribe.
According to him, he could have done a bit more due diligence that could have saved the embarrassment brought to the President who is bereaved.
“Even though my good friend Manasseh Azure Awuni has done a good journalistic work, in principle with the objective of holding public officers accountable I think he could have done better than this. I have watched the video myself and I think that there are some questions that needs to be answered about how Manasseh went about the investigations,” Mr Baako noted.
The ace journalist, who was speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana show on Thursday, explained that Mr Azure Awuni, who has now been tagged as doing a dirty job for the opposition NPP by some activists of the ruling party, could have taken his time to apprise himself with the full facts of the matter before going public with the documentary.
“This is not a big issue I think. What government should do is to take their time to explain the issues for Ghanaians to understand and put the matter to rest. Other than that there are people who would want to use it for political propaganda and there are countless examples of that,” he added.
An investigation by Manasseh spanning three months has revealed that Djibril Kanazoe who is President and Director-General of Groupe Kanazoe gave a Ford Expedition valued at $100,000 to President Mahama in 2012 after he had won two construction contracts.
One was to build a wall around a piece of land for Ghana’s Embassy in Burkina Faso at a cost of $650,000. Another was the Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road worth €25.9million.
The investigations further showed that the contractor was being considered another contract to construct the Wa-Hamile road on sole-sourcing basis.
The gift was given in October 2012, according to reports.
The contractor initially denied giving the gift to the president but when Manasseh showed him a letter written by the Ghana Mission in Burkina Faso confirming the gift, he admitted, adding, the president called to thank him for it.
When the news went viral, government, in a statement issued by the Communications Ministry on Wednesday, explained the gift in no way influenced the decision taken by government to award subsequent contracts to Mr Kanazoe.
The statement however added that the said Ford expedition was put into a pool of vehicle at the presidency.
Contributing to a panel discussion, Kweku Baako noted that the entire transaction of the said vehicle could have been tidied up to avoid what in his view is the unnecessary ‘public heat’ the matter has generated.
“The fact that the vehicle was cleared and paid for at the port, which in my opinion shouldn’t have attracted any duty, may not sit down well with some people and it opens up the gate for all manner of unwarranted suspicion. Meanwhile the president has not captured this vehicle in his assets declaration form so what it tells you is that there was nothing untoward here,”….
“But I can tell you for a fact that I have checked from an authentic source and I can indeed confirm that the President is not using the car for his personal comfort. It has indeed been added to the fleet of cars at the presidency. So as far as I am concerned this issue about bribery is far-fetched,” he told show host Randy Abbey.
Mr Kweku Baako, a known critic of the NDC party, said he knows President Mahama very well and that he will want to believe the President will be thinking on hind sight that, he should not have accepted the gift in the first place in view of the noise this whole matter, which in his (Baako’s) view is not an issue, has created.
“It is also because of the kind of politics we do in this country that has brought us here other than that this is not an issue. I will shudder to believe that the president will accept a Ford expedition in exchange for a contract,” he concluded.
Trappings Of A Novice Intoxicated By Fame?
The NDC Parliamentary candidate for the Tamale North constituency, Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini who was also on the same program described Manasseh’s documentary as unfortunate.
To him, the report is full of the trappings of a novice intoxicated by fame.
He added that he is inclined to believe the Joy FM investigative reporter has a personal agenda against the president.