Chairman of Parliament’s Appointment Committee says working with Minority members of the Committee who accused him of facilitating an attempt to bribe them has been difficult.
Joseph Osei Owusu said he was, however, able to apply the rules of Parliament and had managed to rise above the emotions in order to ensure fairness among the 26-member committee.
Speaking in an interview with Joy News, the Member of Parliament for Bekwai said “It’s not been easy, whether you like it or not, you are human. You look at people who have falsely accused you. If you had your own way, you will pretend they don’t exist, but you can’t because it’s no longer about you. It’s about the state.
“It’s about your leadership style. It’s about leadership of Parliament, if it was left to my emotions, probably the situation would have been difficult,” Mr Osei Owusu added.
Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, alleged in January that the then Energy Minister-designate, Boakye Agyarko attempted bribing minority members of the appointments committee with GHS3,000 each to facilitate his approval.
According to the MP, the money was given to Mr. Osei Owusu, who then passed it on to Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarack for disbursement to them.
Both men have denied the allegation. Two other members of the Appointment’s Committee on the Minority side; MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and MP for Tamale North Alhassan Suhuyini, have publicly backed Mr. Ayariga’s claim, insisting they were offered money.
Related: I wasn’t myself after Ayariga’s bribery allegation – Joe Osei Owusu
To bring a closure to the issue, however, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye set up a five-member Committee to investigate the allegations. The Committee is yet to present its report.
Since then, the Appointments Committee has continued its work, vetting more than 30 of President Akufo-Addo’s ministerial nominees, with more expected to be evaluated soon.
In a response to whether he is confident about his chances of being exonerated, Mr Osei Owusu said “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, it is my complaint that is being investigated, whether I have been defamed. If those who made the allegation cannot prove it, then indeed, it means I have been defamed. If they can prove it, then I have no case.”
Related: Ayariga made bribery allegation up – Joseph Osei Owusu
For him, it is the responsibility of those making the allegations to show that they have a basis for making those allegations.
On suggestions Parliament has disappointed the President, Mr. Osei Owusu disagrees.
He said the President understands the rules and he expects Parliament to work within the rules and within its timetable.
Mr. Osei Owusu’s concern is the ability of the Committee to vet and decide the fate of the new nominees in time before Parliament rises.
Brouhaha over 110 Ministers
The MP for Bekwai also defended President Akufo-Addo’s decision to appoint 110 ministers, which many believe will be a burden on the public purse.
He said the argument that it would cost the nation more is not exactly accurate.
Related: Appointing 110 ministers a bad idea, it’s unjustifiable – Kofi Bentil
“You can’t do the same thing all the time and expect different results. We should probably look at what value addition we get in the end; that will be the basis for criticizing the number.
“If in the end, we are not able to add any more value, then probably the numbers were not justifiable… I am convinced that this government is poised to create more value for Ghanaians,” he added.
Commenting on his role as first Deputy Speaker of Parliament which has allowed him to preside over sittings on a number of occasions, Mr. Osei Owusu said the role is sometimes unexciting.
“I have to confess though that the job of a speaker is sometimes boring. I am an active person. I am a goal getter. So when I have to sit put and watch people talking, it’s boring. But it’s also a major learning curve for me,” he indicated.
Below is the link to the full interview Joseph Osei Owusu granted Joseph Opoku Gakpo