General News of Monday, 30 January 2017
The Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu will call for a review of the committee following a bribery allegation levelled against the committee by one of its members, Mahama Ayariga.
According to the chairman, this will ensure help conclude investigations of the scandal to enable the committee carry out its duty smoothly.
The Bawku Central Member of Parliament, Mahama Ayariga accused the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko of bribing the ten minority members of the committee with GHc3,000 each when he realized that the minority had refused to pass him for the position following some comments he made about former president John Mahama during his vetting.
Mr. Ayariga alleged that the money was given to the Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka by the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Osei-Owusu for onward disbursement; a claim, both the Chairman and Muntaka subsequently rubbished.
Speaking on The Big Issue on Saturday, Joseph Osei Owusu said, the option of impressing on Ayariga to answer questions on his allegations at the committee sitting will be impossible since he [Osei-Owusu] who was implicated by Ayariga in the bribery allegations has to chair that sitting.
The Bekwai legislator said “By our standing orders, I am the Chairman of that committee and by our standing orders, I don’t think that Ayariga will get justice if my committee is to try him. That is why I am doing away with that suggestion and looking at going to court.”
When asking by host, Umaru Sanda Amadu whether he will continue to chair the committee after the allegations, Osei-Owusu said “I am supposed to be there by law. I will make a statement and invite the leadership and the speaker to review that committee.
He added that, “My only challenge now is that we have postponed consideration of some members for appointment for so long and I’m not sure it is fair to them to postpone sitting again. Otherwise I would have refused to sit until those matters are resolved and who ever took money in whose name is brought out.”
He further disclosed that he was engaging his lawyers to possibly seek redress in the court of law to clear his name.
I swear I didn’t give Ayariga bribe money – Muntaka
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak had rejected claims that he gave Mahama Ayariga any money he received from Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko.
“I’m a Muslim and Ayariga is a Muslim. I’m swearing by the Allah that created him that I never gave Ayariga anything and I said it was from Osei-Owusu. Osei Owusu has never discussed any money issue with me. He has never given me any money to be given to Ayariga and I’ve never given Ayariga or anybody any money saying that it was coming from the Chairman,” he said.