CHRAJ petitioned to investigate Parliament bribery allegation

A private citizen has petitioned the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate Parliament as well as the Presidency over the bribery allegation against some lawmakers.

Listowel Nana Poku, a freelance journalist, has joined thousands of agitating voices questioning an internal investigate committee set up by the Speaker of Parliament, Mike Ocquaye, to probe the allegations against the at least two legislators and a minister.

Listowel Nana Kusi Poku also thinks the investigation by Parliament will amount to nothing.

He says the House has an interest in the bribery allegation and hence it does not have the capacity to conduct the investigations.

He has also criticised the Legislature for rushing through the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko’s approval, and the Executive too for accepting same when a bribery allegation hangs over the minister.

Nana Kusi Poku believes the committee investigating the matter should have at least completed its work before Mr Agyarko’s approval as Energy Minister.

“For His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo to have also looked over it as if nothing has happened and also pass him (Mr Agyarko)…we have to also investigate him,”Listowel Nana Kusi Poku told Joy News.

The Speaker constituted the five-member Committee chaired by MP for Essikado, Joe Ghartey, to look into the scalding claim that Boakye Agyarko attempted to bribe members of a committee that vetted him in a bid to facilitate his approval.

Boakey Agyarko

Mr Agyarko’s approval suffered a setback after claims by the Minority MPs sitting on the Appointments Committee that some of his answers during the vetting were unsatisfactory.

MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga claims Mr Agyarko gave him and other Minority members on the Committee GHȻ3,000 through the Chair of the vetting committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu and Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak.

All three accused MPs have denied the claim.

However, Minority MPs for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini; and North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, have backed Mr. Ayariaga. They are the only two out of a total of ten Minority MPs backing the allegation.

Alhassan Suhuyini and Okudzeto Ablakwa said just like Mahama Ayariga, they received the money but returned it after learning about its true purpose. 

They say they first accepted the cash because they thought it was their sitting allowance.

Although the committee probing the allegations has started work, anti-corruption campaigners and the general public have faulted the committee, doubting that findings will indict any lawmaker found culpable.

He is confident CHIRAJ is in the best position to handle the matter.

His position has been reiterated by some Civil Society Organisations. OccupyGhana, for instance, wants a police inquiry to unravel the truth.

Active opposition against the Joe Ghartey-led committee also stems from multiple allegations, sometimes by eminent persons, that bribery and underhand dealings in Parliament are an open but well-kept secret, and hence a committee constituted by fellow legislators will shield the truth.