Conflict of interest: Situation in which a public official or fiduciary who, contrary to the obligation and absolute duty to act for the benefit of the public or a designated individual, exploits the relationship for personal benefit, typically pecuniary.In certain relationships, individuals or the general public place their trust and confidence in someone to act in their best interests. When an individual has the responsibility to represent another person—whether as administrator, attorney, executor, government official, or trustee—a clash between professional obligations and personal interests arises if the individual tries to perform that duty while at the same time trying to achieve personal gain. The appearance of a conflict of interest is present if there is a potential for the personal interests of an individual to clash with fiduciary duties
Deputy Chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Communications, Ahmed Ibrahim, has vehemently dismissed claims that Parliamentarians were bribed with cheap ZTE phones to approve a contract between the Chinese phone company and the government of Ghana.
Ahmed Ibrahim said the phones were not gifts or bribes to influence the MPs but were rather security gadgets given out as entitlements to the MPs.
Media reports, Friday suggested the MPs had been given 275 Chinese ZTE phones in a bid to approve a contract that would enable ZTE acquire for the government of Ghana, security gadgets to provide information for the purposes of monitoring and responding to security emergencies.
A Ranking Member on the Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament, Daniel Nii Quartei Titus-Glover, expressed shock over allegations that the phones were to bribe them.
He described the phones as cheap insisting that the MPs were ready to return them to the Chinese company.
The Director of the Parliamentary Centre, Dr. Rashid Dramani, condemned the action by the MPs.
Describing the decision by the MPs to accept the phones as “big insult” on Ghana’s Parliament, Dr. Dramani said the MPs shouldn’t have accepted the phones, especially when they were to approve a contract involving the same company.
But speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii-Sen programme Friday, Ahmed Ibrahim said allegations that the MPs were bribed with the phones could only be the work of mischief.
He explained that the government of Ghana through the communication ministry, already had a contract with the company, dating back to 2006, which mandated the company to supply security phones to senior government officials, police and army officials.
According to him thousands of such phones were supplied and distributed to ministers of state and security officials.
The MPs wondered why they were not included in the first delivery given that they were also prone to security attacks.
He said the company was therefore charged to provide all the MPs with the security phones but that did not in any way influence the MPs decision on the company’s pending contract before Parliament.
On the contrary he said Parliament rather threw out the initial contract with ZTE company because it was not in favour of Ghana.
According to him, the law makers only approved the contract after the Chinese company had gone back to amend the proposal.