General News of Saturday, 28 January 2017
The Leadership of Parliament has urged the Ghanaian public to disregard a claim by Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, to the effect that a ministerial nominee for Energy and Petroleum, Boakye Agyarko, who has since been sworn into office, attempted to bribe members of the minority on the Appointments Committee, 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 to the House.”
“Parliament would like to state categorically and without any equivocation that these allegations are frivolous and vexatious and should be disregarded.”
The statement further 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 not 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.” The House concluded that, “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.”
Bribery allegations against Agyarko fabricated – Osei Owusu
Already, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei Owusu, has said the allegations brought against Mr. Boakye Agyarko were fabricated. Mr. Mahama Ayariga, a member of the Appointments Committee, accused Mr. Agyarko of attempting to bribe Minority MPs, ostensibly to have his nomination approved.
Rumours were rife in Parliament that some Minority MPs had allegedly been offered GHc 3,000 each by Mr. Agyarko, to facilitate his approval, a claim Mr. Ayariga further stressed on Accra-based Radio Gold. But Mr. Osei Owusu, also the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, said a confession had been made to the effect that the allegation was made by some Minority members to settle scores, following prior claims by the Majority side that former President John Mahama was corrupt.
The source of the confession was however not disclosed. In the supposed confession, Mr. Osei-Owusu said “… the news going round that I have received money from members of the committee was actually created to play on a level ground; the Majority had called the President [Mahama] corrupt so the corruption must be shared amongst all sides.”
Mr. Osei Owusu also assured that, tempers had been calmed and that Parliament would further investigate the matter.
“That confession has come and calmed tempers to some extent, because some of us were boiling up knowing the source and where it has come from, we will find a way to deal with it such that the entire members of the committee will continue to have the confidence of the Ghanaian populace,” the First Deputy Speaker said on the floor of Parliament.
My allegations still stand – Ayariga
Despite the reports of the confession which some news reports have associated with Mr. Ayariga, the Bawku Central MP has said he has not withdrawn his allegations of corruption against Mr. Agyarko.
In a statement, Mr. Ayariga said: “Let me state categorically that I have not withdrawn any allegation against the nominee.
The basis for such a withdrawal and apology does not exist because the Minority Members actually received some sums of money from the leadership which came from the nominee.”
“I wish to also add that I was not making up any facts to equalise for the bribery allegation against President John Mahama. My colleagues and I actually returned the money to be given back to Mr. Agyarko, who we were told gave the money.”