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Thursday, February 11, 2010

CHRAJ clears Ayariga of wrongdoing in tractor saga

Mahama Ayariga, outgoing presidential spokesperson
Mahama Ayariga, outgoing presidential spokesperson

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has cleared the Deputy Trade and Industry Minister-designate, Mahama Ayariga of any wrong doing in the purchase of tractors from the Ministry of Agric.

The Commission said it could not find adverse facts against the former presidential secretary, paving the way for his vetting Thursday.

The Progressive Nationalist Forum dragged Ayariga to CHRAJ, arguing he inappropriately abused his office and bought tractors that he was not entitled to.

The forum claimed the tractors acquired by Mahama Ayariga formed part of some 2000 tractors and their accessories procured by the government of Ghana for underprivileged farmers across the country to boost food production and security in the country.

But after examining all the evidence provided by the PNF and Ayariga, CHRAJ said it came to the conclusion that Mr Ayariga did not violate any regulations, neither was there any shred of evidence to substantiate the allegations against him.

"We have examined the evidence provided by the PNF, we have also examined all the documents in relation to this transaction, the Japanese grant in relating to these tractors, and we found that there is no evidence to substantiate the allegations," the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Emile Short, told Joy FM's Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah Thursday.

Responding to the specific allegation that the tractors were mainly to be sold to underprivileged farmers and that Mr Ayariga did not qualify as he was not an underprivileged farmer, Mr Short said, "what the evidence showed was that the (tractors) were intended to benefit underprivileged farmers - not to be sold directly to underprivileged farmers - and therefore we found that many people had purchased these tractors and opened mechanization centres where the services of these tractors were placed for the benefit of the underprivileged farmers. So the ultimate beneficiaries of the tractors were the underprivileged farmers."

According to him, there was no evidence that the tractors were to be sold directly to underprivileged farmers as alleged by the PNF.

The CHRAJ boss also explained that contrary to the Progressive Nationalists Forum's assertion that Mr Ayariga underpaid for the tractors, the evidence adduced before the Commission proved otherwise. "We received evidence to show that he (Ayariga) had paid what was expected for the tractors."

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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