Allow independent probe into bribery claims – GII to Parliament

General News of Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

2017-02-01

Parliament MinorityParliament has set a 5-member committee to probe the alleged bribery allegation.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has charged the leadership in Parliament to redeem itself a by allowing independent investigations of the bribery allegations made by some members of the Minority Caucus on the Appointments Committee.

A Minority member of the Committee, Mahama Ayariga alleged that the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko attempted to bribe the Minority members to secure approval of his nomination.

Mr. Ayariga said Mr. Agyarko tried bribing 10 Minority members on the Committee with GHc 3,000 each.

The GII in a statement described the corruption allegations as an embarrassment to Parliament hence the need for probe to restore confidence in the Legislature.

“GII considers the current matter as unfortunate, embarrassing and a major dent in the image of Parliament and hence the urgent need for swift action by the Leadership of the August House to redeem the sinking image of the Legislature learning from the example of the infamous judicial corruption scandal and how the Chief Justice acted swiftly to investigate and sanction.”

“To this end, GII calls for an external, independent and transparent investigation into the allegations particularly in the light of Parliament’s initial position of dismissing the allegations.”

The GII feels these allegations would present Parliament with the opportunity to address similar corruption allegations; most recently by anti-corruption campaigner, Martin Amidu.

“GII is also of the view that though unfortunate, this is an opportunity for Parliament if possible to holistically address the general public’s perception of Parliamentary corruption and incessant allegations made by individuals including Hon. Martin Amidu, former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Hon. Alban Bagbin, an MP, Hon. P.C Appiah Ofori, former MP and Professor Stephen Adei, Former rector of GIMPA.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, has since approved the setting up of a five-member in-house committee, to investigate the corruption allegations.

Find below full statement

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has followed with grief concerns the unfolding controversies and confusion related to allegations of attempted bribery of the Minority Caucus of the Appointments Committee of Parliament. The allegations as made by Hon. Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central to the effect that, the then Minister Nominee for Energy attempted to bribe the Minority Caucus on the Appointments Committee with the sum of three thousand Ghana cedis each in order to secure consensus amongst members of the Committee to approve his nomination has even been made murkier by statements made by:

The Public Affairs Department of Parliament dismissing the allegation; The first Deputy Speaker and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Appointment Committee, Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu on the floor of Parliament that Hon. Mahama Ayariga has retracted and apologised;

Ayariga denial that he had retracted and apologised on radio Muntaka, MP for Asawase denial of receipt of any money or giving any money to anybody as alleged by Hon. Ayariga.

GII is of the opinion that, it is incumbent on officials who hold public office and are paid with public funds to demonstrate the highest standards of integrity in the performance of their duties and therefore considers the developments in Parliament very worrying particularly also because similar allegations in the recent past were not thoroughly investigated, at least not that we know of.

It is however, refreshing to note that even though this is not the first time an MP is alleging attempted bribery of MPs, this is the first time MPs are publicly calling for investigations into the matter and committing to testifying during such investigations.

GII considers the current matter as unfortunate, embarrassing and a major dent in the image of Parliament and hence the urgent need for swift action by the Leadership of the August House to redeem the sinking image of the Legislature learning from the example of the infamous judicial corruption scandal and how the Chief Justice acted swiftly to investigate and sanction.

To this end, GII calls for an EXTERNAL INDEPENDENT and TRANSPARENT investigations into the allegations particularly in the light of Parliament’s initial position of dismissing the allegations.

GII is also of the view that though unfortunate, this is an opportunity for Parliament if possible to holistically address the general public’s perception of Parliamentary corruption and incessant allegations made by individuals including Hon. Martin Amidu, former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Hon. Alban Bagbin, an MP, Hon. P.C Appiah Ofori, former MP and Professor Stephen Adei, Former rector of GIMPA.

SIGNED:

Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director

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