18 June 2016

Car gift no free lunch – Nylander

President John Dramani Mahama4A gift worth $100, 000 given to the President of Ghana cannot be for free, a prominent member of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Ladi Nylander, has said.

To him, a gift, which exceeds a certain cost, “clearly shows an ulterior motive”.

For example “a $100,000 car or a house will make me think twice [about your intentions]. If I did something for you and you give me just a thank you card, of course I will be happy about it”.

The comments of Mr Nylander come in the wake of President John Dramani Mahama’s acceptance of a Ford SUV from contractor Mr Djibril Kanazoe, according to investigations conducted by Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure Awuni. The Burkinabe was, in turn, given a series of contracts by the Government of Ghana, including a $650,000 deal to fence a tract of land around Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso.

Tongues have been wagging over the revelation, with calls on Mr Mahama to resign from office despite a press release from the government stating that no wrong was done by the president.

“I will be quite happy to give a car as a gift to my daughter if I could afford it, but a car as a gift to a business person begs the question,” he added.

He held the opinion that anyone can give a gift to the president, but the worth or the cost of the gift matters. According to him, “when one is in public office, they need to be circumspect”.

Citing an example of what happens in other jurisdictions, he indicated that: “A friend of mine, who had been helped at the Danish Embassy decided to take a hamper at the end of his trip to the Danish Ambassador. A big hamper which was a thank you gift that could cost probably GHS2,000, but was told ‘no, if you want to say thank you to the Ambassador, you can only give something about $20’, which is the value of about a bottle of wine and that was what he did.”

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