August 17, 2011

Member of Parliament for Asikuma Odoben Brakwa, Hon Paul Collins Appiah Ofori, says he considers the ‘token’ outhouse being constructed by Regimanuel Gray Estates Limited for the security personnel on duty at the private residence of President John Evans Atta Mills as an ‘inducement for corruption’.

The NPP MP says he is always guided by the sage words of Ghana’s former Prime Minister, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia to wit, “government officials must not collect any gift from anyone since it is a form of bondage, where favours will have to be returned”.

“Dr. Busia said gift bounds an individual and that was an advice he gave to his government officials…anything we collect as a gift is bribery… Attempting to give bribe is a criminal offence…nobody should try to offer any form of defense, it is bribery and I live by Dr. Busia’s word, every gift given to a government official is bribery…,”he said.

He was commenting on media reports that President Mills has acquired a new mansion and subsequent explanations by Koku Anyidoho that the facility is simply an outhouse for the security detail at the president’s private residence at Asanfra Street in the Platinum section of the Regimanuel Gray Estates on the Spintex Road.

Mr. Anyidoho had earlier stated that on Adom FM on Monday, August 15th, that Regimanuel Gray “as the land owners …told the president that we will do a little extension at your backyard so the security men will have a better place of convenience. That is it; it is the developers, you can call Regimanuel Gray people and they will tell you they themselves have decided to build this as a token for the president.”

However, on Tuesday, after leading a team of journalists from the Presidential Press Corps to tour the place which turned out to be a shocking, still-under-construction platform by real estate firm, the Director of Communications at the Presidency clarified that Regimanuel Gray decided to put up the outhouse which comprises ‘toilets, bath houses and a bedroom or two’ after the President first brought up the idea.

After reading copiously from a series of correspondence between the President and Regimanuel Gray on the construction of the facility, he further stated that “Regimanuel Gray is bearing the initial cost and per the tenancy agreement, the president, would make good the repayment to Regimanuel Gray”.

But speaking in an interview with PeaceFM during the Midday Bulletin, the anti-corruption Campaigner P.C Appiah Ofori opined that if President Mills refused to accept gifts sent to him on his birthday because of his principles, then he should not equally have accepted the ‘token’ from the real estate developer.

“…President Mills should have started dealing with all his government officials who are fond of receiving gifts…if he had done that, no one would have thought of bringing him anything in a form of gift…We should not encourage these things…it is an inducement for corruption…,” P.C. Appiah Ofori added.