General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
The chairman of Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei Owusu has described bribery allegations leveled against him by a member of the committee, Mahama Ayariga as “colossal untruth.”
He thus requested the speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye to grant him immunity to go to court and clear his bruised integrity in the bribery allegation that hit the committee he chairs.
The speaker, however, declined concurring with arguments from the majority and minority leader to set up a committee to internally probe the allegation.
“The bribery scandal allegation means a lot to the reputation and dignity of parliament. Ghanaians are very angry,” Haruna Iddrisu told the House.
Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the majority leader thus called for the constitution of a five member special committee “to investigate the bribery allegation.
The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and Member of Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Mahama Ayariga last week accused Energy minister, Boakye Agyarko of attempting to bribe the minority members of the committee, to clear him following his edgy vetting—but they rejected it.
According to him, the energy minister’s bribery attempt was made through the chairman of the committee, Hon. Osei Owusu which was given to the minority caucus by its chief whip, Muntaka Mubarak.
He had since petitioned the speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye to constitute a committee to investigate his claim.
Making a formal statement on the allegation on the floor of parliament Tuesday, the first deputy speaker of parliament said he was livid by the allegation and that his heart desire was to go to court to reclaim his integrity.
Describing the allegations as “colossal untruth,” Mr. Osei Owusu lucidly maintained that: “I have never discussed, requested, demanded or received money from Boakye Agyarko or any other person.”
He said accusing the majority of bribing the minority to approve the nomination of the Energy Minister following his vetting was “illogical and ill-motivated”.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), Dr. Rasheed Draman has urged the leadership of parliament not be protective in dealing with the bribery allegation that hit its Appointments Committee.
Speaking Tuesday in an interview with Nii Arday Clegg on Morning Starr, he said the allegation was damning and not good for “our country and our democracy.”
He told Clegg that the leadership of parliament need to thoroughly investigate the allegation to re-claim its damaged reputation.
“We need to claim back the image of Parliament. However we look at it, it is not a good time for our nation at all.The corruption allegation is not good for our country and our democracy,” said Mr. Draman.
“Our parliament should not take a protective stand but rather deal with the issue as it is,” he added.