General News of Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Source: The Finder
Contrary to earlier perceptions that the alleged bribe, which was offered to influence the approval of the then Minister-nominee for Energy, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, the principal witness in the case, Mr Mahama Ayariga has stated that there was no influence in the committee’s arrival at a consensus to approve the minister’s nomination.
The rumours that followed the alleged bribery allegation that has since hit raw nerves of the Appointment Committee of Parliament was that the alleged money which Mr. Mahama Ayariga claimed to have received from Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, was intended to influence his approval by the nominee.
But giving testimony before the committee set up to investigate the bribery allegations, the principal witness in the case, Mr. Mahama Ayariga revealed that at no point was the committee influenced in arriving at a consensus to pass the nominee.
He recounted that earlier, the Minority had refused to approve of the nominee stating that they [minority ] had requested for further particulars on some allegations made by the nominee to the effect that the previous government had purchased three Floating storage and gasification units and that the “World Bank was breathing down the neck of the former President”.
Mr Ayiraga in his evidence stated Mr Agyarko was able to provide evidence to prove his claim on the storage units and further withdrew his comment he made against the former President Mahama.
“Even at the very last moment, we could still not come to a consensus to that there would not be a need for a vote on the matter and so we went into conclave and there we were able to come to some consensus because the information that we requested, a substantial portion of it had come. We had gotten confirmation and then some of the issues that the minority had the nominee was withdrawn and so, on the basis of that, there was agreement that we should approve them by consensus,” he narrated.
Asked if he had any evidence apart from rumour that Mr Agyarko had brought money to be distributed amongst the committee members, before going on radio to make the bribery claim, Mr Ayariga said his allegations were based solely on what Muntaka had told them.
“At the time we took the monies, we assumed that it was our committee allowances and we heard the rumours so asked our Chief Whip, Hon Muntaka, to do an investigation”.
Mr Ayariga instated that although he has nothing to tender in as evidence, the facts he has given are true about the issue.
“That I took the money is a fact; that we later heard rumor is also a fact; that I returned the money is a fact; and that we asked for investigation is also a fact,” he insisted.
In a sharp contrast to the position of Ayariga, the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, also insisted at the committee hearing that he never took any money from the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Joe Osei-Owusu, to be given to any member of the committee as bribe coming from Mr Agyarko.
“I have never been given any money from the Chairman Joe Osei-Owusu to be given to anybody telling that person that the Chairman has given me this money to give”, he insisted.
The man at the center of the allegations Mr. Boakye Agyarko vehemently dismissed that allegation s against him, insisting that at no point of the way was his approval to become Minister was in danger.
“At no point did I feel my confirmation was at risk”, he told the committee.