The First Deputy Majority chief whip, Matthew Nyindam, has revealed that fresh evidence from a witness has temporarily stalled the work of the five-member ad hoc committee set up by parliament to look into the bribery allegation made against leadership of the Appointments Committee by some members of the committee.
The five-member ad hoc committee headed by former second deputy speaker of parliament and New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Essikado/Ketan, Joe Ghartey, was about to wrap up its work, but Mr Matthew Nyindam, who was speaking on the sidelines to the media after parliament had briefly met yesterday, said one of the witnesses who appeared before the committee to testify had come up with a fresh evidence which would take the work of the committee back a bit.
He, however, did not mention the name of the said witness.
The committee was constituted in the first week of February by the speaker of parliament after a member of the Appointments Committee and National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, had made a damning allegation on radio that each of the minority members on the committee had been given GH¢3,000 to help approve the nomination of the then minister-designate for Energy, Boakye Agyarko.
The minority members had said they would not approve of his nomination because he (Agyarko) had indicted former President John Mahama for supervising unprecedented corruption in the energy sector, implying that former President Mahama was also corrupt.
Mahama Ayariga said the money was given to them by the then minister-designate for Energy and was rooted through the minority chief whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, who did the distribution but the minority chief whip had flatly denied ever receiving money from anybody, let alone distribute to members of the minority on the Appointments Committee.
In order to cleanse parliament’s image, the speaker of parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, constituted the five-member committee made up of NPP MP for Essikado/Ketan, Joe Ghartey; NPP MP for Offinso South, Ben Abdallah Banda; NPP MP for Juaben, Ama Pomaa Boateng; NDC MP for Yilo Krobo, Magnus Kofi Amoatey and NDC MP for Talensi, Benson Tongo Baba, to thoroughly look into the bribery allegation and for the committee to report back to the plenary for action to be taken.
The committee was given four weeks to complete its work but somewhere along the line, the committee asked for extension of time to be able to do a thorough job.
The first deputy majority chief whip, who is also the MP for Kpandai, said the witness had filed for his fresh evidence to be taken by the committee.
“We met last week at the Business Committee and I raised that issue with the majority leader and I asked him when this Joe Ghartey thing (report) will be ready because the public is interested. We are also interested as a house because it is an alleged issue and we all have to clear it,” he said.
According to DAILY GUIDE sources, the committee recently relocated to a place at Aburi in the Eastern Region to finalise its report.
At a recent press conference, the majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, assured the nation that the committee would soon finish its work and that members of the public should exercise patience.
So far, chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu, and deputy ranking member, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, whom the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, had accused of distributing the said money, have strongly denied the allegation made against them.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr