The majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in parliament has attacked the minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) for engaging in ‘politics of deceit’ over the Ford Expedition vehicle reportedly given to President Mahama as a gift.
At a press conference yesterday, the majority leader, Alban Bagbin, said the motion filed by the minority occasioning an emergency recall of the House today, has nothing to do with the impeachment of President John Mahama over the Ford vehicle, but the minority members had been going round telling Ghanaians that the recall is about the impeachment of the president.
President Mahama took a 2010 Ford Expedition in 2012 valued at about $100,000 from a Burkinabe contractor, Djibril Kanazoe, after which a number of government contracts were awarded to the Burkinabe.
The recall will pitch the minority against the majority on the Ford bribery when the 275 MPs consider a motion to investigate President Mahama following his admission that he received the vehicle in 2012.
After collecting over 100 signatures – well beyond the 41 signatures needed to summon MPs back to parliament – the minority is set to push for a bipartisan probe into the saga.
Mr Bagbin said the minority’s motion is asking parliament to constitute a special parliamentary committee to investigate whether indeed the president received such a gift from a contractor and whether it infringes on the laws of the country.
“It is clear even to the uninitiated that this recall of parliament and the NPP’s strategy that has heralded it is borne out of clear mischief and a desperate attempt to throw as much dirt at President John Mahama ahead of the December 7 general election,” the majority leader said.
He said this urgent motion filed by the minority leading to today’s recall of parliament is a “needless waste of scarce resources and precious time,” especially when members of parliament ought to be engaging their constituents in the build-up to the elections.
Mr Bagbin assured Ghanaians that notwithstanding this urgent recall, members of the majority would remain alive to their constitutional responsibilities, stressing that “this unnecessary distraction will soon be put behind us as we in the majority have resolved to continue to support President Mahama’s vision of changing lives and transforming Ghana.”
The second deputy majority chief whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, alleged that the minority is clearly divided over this motion, adding that they believe the motion would resurrect similar issues under the NPP regime.
Bagbin said the call for a bi-partisan probe was a needless duplication of efforts because the president is already under investigation by a state anti-graft institution – the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
“Why is the minority asking parliament to investigate a matter which is already being investigated by CHRAJ?” he wondered.
He said the minority leader himself is confused about the motion because he was on Citi Fm on Monday claiming that he himself did not know the reason for the recall and that he was taken aback when he heard about the news of the recall.
“The minority has done a lot of disservice to their members because the time they are coming to waste here could have been used to follow their flag bearer in his campaign. Now that the minority has brought us here over the so-called Ford gift, it will overshadow whatever campaign they are doing.”
Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Agbesi, had already said his side would resist any attempt by the NPP to raise the issue on the floor of parliament. “I will say without any reservation at all that if that issue should be raised in parliament, we on our side shall resist with all the forces at our disposal,” he stated.
Setting Out Issues
A four-point motion to be debated wants parliament to consider whether the president of Ghana HE John Dramani received a Ford Expedition vehicle from a Burkinabe contractor; whether the Ford Expedition gift vehicle received by the president infringes any law of Ghana; whether the Ford Expedition vehicle donated to the president infringes his own code of conduct and any other matter relevant to the above subject.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr