General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Oquaye has directed that parliament sets up a five-member ad hoc committee to investigate a bribery allegation levelled against the Appointments Committee.
The members of the committee, according to Prof Oquaye, will not necessarily be from parliament. It will be chaired by former Second Deputy Speaker Joe Ghartey. The other members are MPs Ben Abdallah, Ama Pomaah Boateng, Magnus Kofi Amoateng and B.T. Baba.
This was after Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu urged the Speaker of Parliament to constitute a special committee of that nature to investigate thoroughly the bribery allegations.
For him, the reputation and integrity of legislators are at stake and the “Ghanaian public is very angry and will want nothing but the truth concerning the allegations”, adding: “I will request that you refer this to a special ad hoc committee” to unravel the truth to be shared with Ghanaians and the world to redeem the dignity and image of the house.
Mr Iddrisu made the request on Tuesday, January 31 on the floor of parliament.
Bawku Central Member of Parliament (MP) Mahama Ayariga had alleged that then-Energy Minister-designate Boakye Agyarko had offered cash through Appointments Committee chairman Joe Osei-Owusu, to be shared among Minority MPs on the committee.
Mr Ayariga claimed that GHS3000 was paid to each of the NDC MPs by Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, an amount they thought was sitting allowance for MPs on the committee, but returned the monies when they heard a rumour that the amount had actually come from Mr Agyarko to influence them to endorse his nomination as minister.
Mr Osei-Owusu and Mr Muntaka have both denied the allegation.
Subsequently, Mr Ayariga, together with two other members of the committee: Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhassan Suhuyini, sent a petition to the Speaker to investigate the matter.
Mr Osei-Owusu has also pleaded with the Speaker of Parliament to grant him the permission to sue and seek redress in court.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu agreed that a five-member committee be formed to probe the matter and present its report within four weeks.