A former Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short, has said that the way the bribery allegation made by the Bawku Central Member of Parliament (MP), Mahama Ayariga, was handled may not erase the perception in the minds of Ghanaians that the legislature is corrupt.
In an interview on Saturday, Justice Short explained that the Joe Ghartey report did little to clean up Parliament’s image.
“There are those who may not still be satisfied about the credibility of Parliament because of the many previous bribery allegations leveled against the institution,” he noted.
Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye, cautioned the Bawku Central MP not to peddle falsehood in the legislature after the ad-hoc committee found him in contempt.
This was after Mr. Agyariga had alleged that some members of the minority side on the Appointment Committee in Parliament were given bribes to influence the approval of the Minister of Energy- designate, Boakye Agyarko.
Mr Ayariga alleged that Mr. Agyarko gave the money to Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, Chairman of the Appointments Committee, to be distributed to them but after realising the purpose of the money it was returned.
However the Joe Ghartey Committee which was set up by the Speaker, in its report, said it found no evidence to support allegations of bribery made by the Bawku Central MP.
Presenting the report Mr. Joe Ghartey, Chairman of the committee, said Mr. Ayariga failed to adduce any evidence to substantiate his bribery claim.
“Everything he said was nothing more than rumours,” Mr Ghartey said, adding: “Multiplicity of rumours does not constitute a fact.”
But Mr. Short shared a different view saying, “The way in which this matter was handled would not have erased that perception in the minds of the public that the institution is still riddled with corruption.”
Relatedly, Mr. Osei-Owusu, has expressed his gratitude to people who stood by him in the midst of a bribery allegation against him, of which he was eventually vindicated.
Mr. Osei-Owusu who is also the MP of Bekwai said he was grateful that his reputation had been restored after the ruling by the Speaker.
“I thank my constituents, chiefs and all who stood by me and had faith in my integrity. I thank all Ghanaians, many of whom stood by me, prayed for me and prayed with me,” he said.
He expressed satisfication with the outcome of the probe.
He explained that even though he had initially wanted to go to court he later relaxed for the outcome of the probe.
“You go to court to redeem your image and in the end it is the same thing you get here in Parliament. There was no evidence that I did anything wrong and for me that is what is important.”
He added that “the integrity of Parliament has been put in tatters and it falls on all of us to work to redeem that”.
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