General News of Monday, 30 January 2017
Ghana’s parliament must investigate the bribery scandal allegedly involving Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy, to ascertain its veracity, Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director for the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), has said.
In a Facebook post on Saturday January 28, he said: “In whatever way you think of it, Mahama Ayariga’s bribery allegation is a very, very serious matter that cannot and should not be brushed aside with the dirty broom of partisanship. It borders on the integrity of our parliament. If Ayariga lied, it’s grievous. If it’s true that there was an attempt to bribe MPs, that is scandalous. If parliament wants us to take the House seriously, the Speaker should take up the matter for thorough investigation.”
His comments follow an allegation made by Bawku Central Member of Parliament Mahama Ayariga that Mr Agyarko attempted to bribe his way through to be passed by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
Mr Ayariga, who is a member of the Committee, confirmed that a quantum of money was given to Mr Osei Owusu by Mr Agyarko to be distributed to Minority MPs on the committee with the intention of influencing them to give him the nod so he could be sworn in as Minister.
He told Accra-based Radio Gold in an interview on Friday that the Minority MPs outrightly rejected the GHS3000 each, which was enveloped for them when they later found out from Mr Osei Owusu that the money was coming from Mr Agyarko.
According to Mr Ayariga, the Minority MPs first accepted the money because they were under the impression that the money was their sitting allowance but got alarmed and decided to return the money after they heard rumours that the money was coming from Mr Agyarko to bribe them.
“We were expecting our committee allowances from the chairman so when we were called by our leader to come and take our money we took it knowing that that is our allowance. So, as for the quantum, we cannot tell how much money he might have given to the chairman, so there are all sorts of speculations about what sort of quantum he is alleged to have given but what we know is what came to us as individuals, that is what we can bear testimony to: whether it’s GHS1 or GHS2, no matter how small it is, what we know is what was given to us and we found out later that it was coming from him so as for the quantum, it’s not important. For me, the most important thing is that we were expecting to be given our committee sitting allowances, and we were promised by our chairman that it would come very soon, and we were called to pick up money from our Whip, we picked it up and assumed that it was our allowances and then later we heard rumours in the house and we called our leader and asked him where is the money coming from, he said it came from the Chairman but chairman said it was coming from Boakye Agyarko so that is where we realised that we [couldn’t] take money from Boakye Agyarko. So we asked him to take his money back, we are not interested. The quantum is insignificant, even if he had brought GHS1million, we will still return it to him,” Mr Ayariga said.