General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Monday expressed sadness at the extent to which Mahama Ayariga’s allegations of bribery have affected the integrity of the House and members of the parliament.
In a heartfelt opening statement before the business of vetting ministerial nominees began Monday, he said the outcome of the investigation would purge and restore the integrity of the members of the Committee.
“I feel a lot of pain in my heart as I am sitting here, and I don’t know whether some people in this country are being cynical or not, but I now understand why people don’t trust us again,” he said.
“If anyone had wanted to influence the decision of the Committee then that person should have paid the bribe to us before the vetting process.”
This is not the first time parliament has come under the corruption radar. There have been loud rumours of the Appointments Committee allegations by former members of the house and some respectable private citizens but Ayariga’s is one os such to rock the appointments committee
But Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and Member of the Committee has accused Mr. Boakye Agyarko, the Minister of Energy of allegedly giving bribe to the Chairman of the Committee to share among the members of the Committee to influence his approval, after the vetting.
The former Minister in the Mahama-led government last week told the media that when he received a tip-off that the GHc3000 he received from the Committee was not his sitting allowance but a bribe from Mr. Boakye Agyarko, he and the other members on the Minority side returned the money.
However, the Chairman of the Committee said since he joined the Committee, in 2009. It had never deferred its decision on a nominee to the next day, but after every sitting they deliberated on whether a nominee would be approved by consensus or otherwise.
Mr Osei-Wusu said he objected to a suggestion, at an earlier meeting, that the vetting be suspended until the investigations had been completed because it would impede Government business.
He, therefore, suggested that the Appointments Committee be reconstituted.
Three Ministerial-nominees were vetted Monday- Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, the nominee for the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry, and Mr Daniel Kwaku Botwe, the nominee for Regional Re-organisation and Development followed Dr Anthony Osei–Akoto, nominee for Monitoring and Evaluation.