Ghana's Mahama cleared of corruption over vehicle gift
Accra, Sept 29, 2016 (AFP) Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama has been cleared of corruption over the gift of a car from a construction firm bidding for a lucrative government contract, a report concluded Thursday.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) said in a 78-page report that a claim of conflict of interest against Mahama "has not been substantiated".
"Full or further investigations into the allegations are not warranted," it added.
Mahama's government has not denied receiving the four-wheel-drive vehicle from a contractor in Burkina Faso, who had previously built a wall on Ghanaian Embassy land in Ouagadougou.
But it dismissed opposition suggestions the car was a bribe to get a road-building contract in Ghana's Volta region that the same contractor later secured.
Mahama himself called the accusations "baseless". The vehicle was a gift and had been added to the government car pool, his administration said.
Despite being cleared of bribery, the CHRAJ, which is independent but whose commissioners are appointed by the president, found him guilty of breaching government rules on the acceptance of gifts.
Corruption has been a key issue in Ghana in recent years, not least in December last year when a string of judges were sacked for taking bribes after an undercover newspaper investigation.
Mahama, of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), is seeking a second term of office and on Thursday submitted his candidacy forms to the country's electoral commission.
He will again face Nana Akufo-Addo, the veteran leader of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), who lost out at the last election in 2012.
Electoral Commission of Ghana spokesman Yussif Alhassan Ayuba told AFP 23 people picked up nomination forms for the presidential race.
"Out of the 23, 16 are political parties and seven are independent candidates," he said.
"So far today (Thursday) we have received eight political parties who have submitted their forms.
"We are currently going through their forms, and the two major political parties, the NPP and the NDC, have submitted their nomination forms."
The election is set to take place on December 7.