A Deputy Communications Minister has described as frivolous a motion brought by the Minority requesting a parliamentary probe into how the president received a Ford vehicle from a Burkinabe contractor.
Felix Kwakye Ofosu told host of Joy FM’s Super morning Show Kojo Yankson the Minority’s motion was filed with a motive that was less honorable, tainted with mischief and propaganda.
“They should have known that this motion was dead on arrival. That is why I am tempted to believe that they did this out of mischief. It was simply, in my view, an avenue for propaganda, to hurl abuses and insults at the president,” he said.
The Deputy Minister appeared on the show together with the Spokesperson of the John Mahama campaign team, Mrs Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, to defend the four year legacy of the president and to justify why he should be given another term.
Among the issues discussed was last week’s drama in Parliament which culminated in the shooting down of a motion by the Minority which sought the Speaker’s request for a bipartisan investigation into issues relating to the Ford scandal.
Kwakye-Ofosu was unequivocal in stating that the whole drama was needless.
“It is regrettable. We need to move away from this frivolity. There are more substantive matters that Parliament has to concern itself with,” he said.
The Deputy Minister also vehemently defended president John Mahama’s integrity in the controversial Ford gift scandal but will not explain why the gift he received in 2012 was cleared another man’s name.
The president received the vehicle from the Burkinabe contractor Djibril Kanazoe who later became a beneficiary of three government contracts.
Government has been quick to delink the gift from the contract awarded to the Burkinabe businessman.
Felix Kwakye Ofosu eloquently answered all questions relating to the Ford gift scandal but pulled the breaks when he was asked why the vehicle gifted to the president was cleared in the port in the name of one Quedraogo Cheik Mohammed as the importer.
“From the very beginning, government has been very candid and transparent on this matter. When the story broke out we put out a statement signed by the Minister of Communications indicating the story was received, except that we rejected the notion that there was any linkage whatsoever between that gift and the two contracts that Manasseh referred to. Indeed if you go into the origins of those contracts you would find out there is really nothing to link the two separate events.
“We thought that it was a non issue, the notion of receiving a gift either by the president or the state is not new,” he stated.
According to Kwakye Ofosu, the president had to pay duties because the vehicle was not only given to him as a gift but it was manufactured in 2010 and the law demands that duties had to be paid on vehicles that were over six months old.
“In this instance he paid duties. Why shouldn’t he pay duties? Ministers, everybody in government pays duties when they import a vehicle into the country,” he stated, adding the president did nothing wrong in paying duty.
Under Ghana’s laws, presidents do not pay taxes but Kwakye-Ofosu believes, that law only applies to the salaries he receives adding the president must pay duties for the vehicle he received as gift.
When he was asked why the duty was paid in another person’s name, Felix Kwakye stated, the matter was before CHRAJ and would not want to preempt the outcome. He was however confident that nothing much will come out of the investigation.