Bribery in Parliament? … But public told it is frivolous,vexatious and must be disregarded

Mr. Mahama Ayariga

Mr. Mahama Ayariga

A bribery scandal has hit parliament following the revelation by Mr. Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central in the Upper East Region that minority members of the Appointments Committee were bribed GH¢3,000 each.

Mr. Ayariga who is minority member of the Appointments Committee said the money which was said to be from Mr. Boakye Agyarko, the Energy Minister, was given to members of the Minority through Mr. Joe Osei-Owusu, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee.

But the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Mr.Osei-Owusu who denied the allegation has said he will proceed to the court tomorrow (Tuesday) to prove his innocence in the bribery scandal that has rocked his committee.

According to him, he has never given any money to be given to the minority caucus on the committee, as has been alleged by the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga.

The former Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation had alleged that Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, attempted to bribe members of the minority caucus, through the chairman of the committee, in order to be approved by the Appointments Committee following his vetting.

He said GH¢3,000 was given to each member through the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, who had received the money from the chairman of the committee.

Mr. Osei Owusu, appointment committee chairman

Mr. Osei Owusu, appointment committee chairman

But speaking on the Starr Midday News on Saturday, the Bekwai MP said he had not given any money to anybody to be given to the minority.

“As I have said already, I have not given any money to anybody to be given to anyone. I have not met or spoken to Muntaka over any money, either from Boakye Agyarko or from anyone.  I’m not open to money discussions of such nature, I have never been and will never be,” he said.

He noted “I will make a general statement on the floor and then on Tuesday proceed to the court to clear my name in this matter legally; and that’s what I will do,”

But, the Bawku Central MP had insisted the incident took place and that he is ready to stand by his claim anywhere.

Mr. Agyarko who denied the claim said his lawyers were studying the issue to possibly take legal action against Mr. Ayariga.

Meanwhile, the Minority Chief Whip has descended hard on his colleague Minority Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, saying the latter lied over his claims about an alleged bribery scandal involving the Energy Minister.

Mr. Ayariga has asserted that, then a nominee, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, offered members of the Minority on Parliament’s Appointment Committee GH¢3,000  each to influence them to approve his nomination as the Energy Minister.

Speaking on TV3’s New Day show Saturday, the former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Ayariga stood by his allegation saying “I will stand by this fact wherever I go. Hon. Muntaka told us that the chairman told him the money is coming from Boakye Agyarko, and we said no we are not interested” and returned the money.

However, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak in an interview on Joy FM’s News File show, Saturday, refuted Mr. Ayariga’s assertion saying he was stupified by the information put out by the latter.

“Let me say this…I’m saying this with a lot of difficulty, because I know the rules. When you’re in the leadership and any of your members do things rationally you just keep quiet. But I just want to say this and I’ll not say anything, I’m a Moslem and Ayariga is a Moslem…I’m swearing by Allah who has created he and I. I never gave Ayariga anything saying it came from Osei Owusu, [Chairman of the Appointments Committee] and Osei Owusu has never discussed any money issue with me, he’s never given me any money to be given to Ayariga and I’ve never given Ayariga or anybody money saying that it was coming from the chairman.”

He added “That’s all that I’ll say, because we’re in the leadership and I think leadership will have to take this thing up seriously. I don’t know where Ayariga is having this information that he’s purporting and saying all these things. We had several meetings before we started, we ourselves agreed in principle that we’re not going to take a dime from anybody. That’s all I’ll tell you for now.”

In a related development, the leadership of Parliament has urged the Ghanaian public to disregard a claim by Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, that a ministerial nominee for Energy and Petroleum, Boakye Agyarko, who has since been sworn into office, attempted to bribe MPs of the minority on the Appointments Committee of Parliament, to facilitate his recommendation for approval.

In a statement signed by acting Public Affairs Director of Parliament, Kate Addo, on Friday January 27, Parliament said “We have noted with concern, allegations that the leadership and members of the Appointment Committee, have been bribed by some of the President’s nominees to facilitate the recommendation of approval of their nomination as Ministers.”

“Parliament would like to state categorically and without any equivocation that these allegations are frivolous and vexatious and should be disregarded.”

The statement said: “Parliament attaches a lot of importance to its constitutional duties and abhors practices that will not only affect its work but also bring the institution into disrepute. Therefore, extreme care is  taken and thorough background checks are made before chairpersons to the various committees are appointed. This is to ensure that the works they oversee are meticulously carried.”

It said the “Parliament will therefore like to state that, no such event has taken place and anybody having any information to the contrary, must resort to the laws of the land and take the appropriate action for redress.”

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