Bribery probe: Osei-Owusu confident of ‘exoneration’ as report delays

Chairman of Parliament’s Appointment Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu, says he will be vindicated in the bribery scandal when the report of an investigative committee is made public.

The deadline for the ad hoc committee to finish its work passed three weeks ago but it has still not made public its report.

“I am exonerated already,” Mr Osei-Owusu told Joy News’ Parliamentary Correspondent Joseph Opoku Gakpo in an exclusive interview.

“I think sometimes people misconstrue what this is about. This committee was set up as a result of my complaint to the speaker that I have been defamed so there is no issue of being exonerated,” he adds.

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament was cited by MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga in an alleged bribery incident.

Mr Ayariga alleged on an Accra-based Radio Gold that he heard Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, gave the Appointments Committee the sum of GHC100,000 to be shared to the minority members.

He claimed NDC MPs on the Committee were offered GHC3,000 each, but they rejected it after they were told of the source of the money.

Mr Agyarko’s approval was opposed by the minority members of the Committee who accused him of making “inaccurate” claims against President John Mahama during the election campaigns.

Minority members of the Committee demanded evidence from the then Energy Minister-designate to back his claims against the former President John Mahama.

Mr Ayariga said he was told that Joseph Osei-Owusu handed over the bribe money to the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak to be distributed to the Minority MPs on the committee, a claim both Mr Osei-Owusu and Mubarak have vehemently denied. 

Two other MPs later corroborated Mr Ayariga’s claim.

Speaking on the matter on Wednesday, Mr Osei-Owusu told Joseph Opoku Gakpo that although he would have wished that the work of the Joe Ghartey Committee investigating the allegations was concluded by now, he understands why it has dragged.

“All the members of the committee are substantive members of other committees, this is budget time. Before the budget, there was the State of the Nation debate and I think it is important they get the space [they need to do their work],” he said.

The Committee, meanwhile, has explained that the delay is the result of new evidence brought forth by an MP.

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