Bawku Central Member of Parliament (MP), Mahama Ayariga, has rendered an unqualified apology to Parliament for his unsubstantiated widespread allegation that there were attempts to bribe the Minority caucus of the Appointments Committee of the House.
His apology follows investigations into the allegation by an ad hoc committee, constituted to probe the claims, which cited Mr Ayariga for contempt of Parliament.
According to the Joe Ghartey-chaired committee, Mr Ayariga flouted Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution, Section 32 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300) and Orders 28 and 30 (2) of Parliament’s Standing Orders.
Mr Ayariga who was supposed to apologise when the committee released its report on March 3, challenged the powers of the committee to cite him for contempt when it was set up to find facts of the matter.
“Mr Speaker, if you want me to apologise, I apologise,” he said, when he was impressed upon to do so by the Speaker, Professor Mike Oquaye.
His posturing threw the House into disarray, pitching the Majority and Minority wings against each other in near physical exchanges.
Mr Ayariga, moments before the House went on recess on Friday, rendered the unqualified apology when the Speaker gave him another chance to do so.
“With magnanimity in mind, I give Honourable Ayariga an opportunity to apologise again,” Speaker Oquaye said on Friday.
Reading a letter he addressed to the Speaker on the floor of Parliament, Mr Ayariga said “pursuant to paragraph 141 of the report of the special committee to investigate the bribery allegation and the decision of this Honourable House adopting the report, I hereby render an unqualified apology to this Honourable House of Parliament.”
The Speaker, accepting Mr Ayariga’s apology asked the House to forgive the Bawku Central MP, but cautioned him not to repeat his action in the future because he “will have himself to blame……Go and sin no more.”
Mr Ayariga stirred nationwide controversy in January when he alleged that then Energy Minister-designate, Mr Boakye Agyarko, attempted bribing the 10minority members on the 26-man Appointments Committee with GH¢3,000 each, using the chairman, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu.
He said Mr Osei-Owusu used the Minority Chief Whip and Deputy Ranking on the Committee, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, to distribute the money to the minority caucus members, a claim Alhaji Muntaka, Mr Osei Owusu and Mr Agyarko have all denied.
By Julius Yao Petetsi