North Tongu MP Okudzeto Ablakwa is set to explain to a special committee of parliament, why the First Deputy Speaker’s testimony against him in an MPs bribery saga is not be believed.
Okudzeto Ablakwa was reported to have suggested that the claim by some NDC MPs to have returned monies meant to bribe them was a cooked-up joke meant to settle political scores.
The First Deputy Speaker Joe Osei Owusu reported Ablakwa’s purported comments when he took his turn to testify at the Joe Ghartey-led committee last Wednesday.
Joe Osei Owusu, the first to testify, was implicated in the bribery saga by Mahama Ayariga who claimed GHC3,000 each was channeled through Joe Osei Owusu to be given to some opposition MPs on the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
According to the First Deputy Speaker, at a private meeting with the Speaker of Parliament and some MPs, he angrily demanded the claim be thoroughly discussed.
But to his relief, Okudzeto said at that meeting, the entire claim is to pay back the NPP government for characterising the Mahama-led NDC government as corrupt.
The tensed room erupted into laughter. This is the testimony Joe Osei Owusu gave.
But this is no laughing matter for Okudzeto Ablakwa whose turn it is to get angry. He has described Joe Osei Owusu’s testimony as a ‘desperate fabrication’.
He is appearing at the special investigative committee of parliament to explain why Joe Osei Owusu’s testimony must not be believed.
He takes his seat with his lawyers saying their client would deliver his testimony extempore and when there is the need to help out they would come in. He thanks the Committee for giving him the opportunity to respond.
He reads to the Committee instances where his name was mentioned by the Charmain of Parliament’s Appointment Committee with reference to him having said that the allegation was for equalisation. He said it was an unfortunate instance for the Appointment’s Committee to find itself in such a situation because they are doing a good job so far.
Mr Okudzeto said in the course of vetting, some nominees have been hostile and some of them have to be asked to withdraw some comments. He added that at no time would he go into a conspiracy to bear false witness against a nominee for the sake of sharing false witness.
When the Chairman made the comment he sought the opportunity to also be heard and to state unequivocally, that he never spoke at the conclave meeting.
There is an evidence to the effect that he did not speak at the conclave which he quoted a myjoyonline.com interview granted by one of those mentioned.
Responding to Joe Ghartey’s comment of approaching them with a memo instead of writing through his lawyers, Mr Ablakwa said he knows the stern nature of the Chairman.
He explains he came in only to clear his name so that public perception is cleared on what his role in the whole scandal is.
Mr Joe Ghartey explains to him that he would be given a copy of proceedings to study for his further comments. Although he was about to be discharged, Mr Okudzeto said willing to assist the Committee with his version of what happened.
A member of the Committee tells Mr Okudseto that his invitation what to speak to the issue of his name being mentioned by the Chairman of the Appointments Committee. There is a banter between Mr Ghartey and the counsel of Mr Okudzeto.
Counsel for Okudzeto explains that if his client has an evidence to give to the Committee, they should be ready to allow him to give his evidence. However, Mr Ghartey explains that they [Committee] would tell Mr Okudzeto what they need call for it. Counsel plead that his client is given the opportunity to give his closing remarks.
Mr Ghartey told Mr Okudzeto he could write a memo to the Committee detailing what his evidence is, nonetheless, lead counsel for Mr Okudzeto said what his client would say is material to the issues at hand so he should be given the opportunity to speak. Mr Ghartey said he does not recognise them to talk.
Mr Ghartey explains he does not want to open the floodgates for everyone with something to come banging their doors to give evidence. He takes the time to meet with other members.
Members said he should present his evidence to the Committee and it would be considered. Mr Okudzeto has been discharged. Mr Okudzeto said although he is saddened by the decision, he respects it and would write the memorandum as directed by Mr Ghartey.