Anxiety peaks in Parliament over Joe Ghartey Committee report

The atmosphere in Ghana’s Parliament Wednesday was tensed after a committee that investigated a bribery allegation laid its report.

Joy News has gathered the apprehension of legislators was stirred after the discussion on the report was adjourned to Thursday.

Leadership of the House explained this was done to afford the Members of Parliament (MPs) the opportunity to peruse the document before the commencement of debates.

Per Standing Orders of the House, debate on a report is done 48 hours after it is laid, but Parliament has invoked its power to change the rules for the report.

Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said the 50-page report would be distributed to the MPs to inform their submissions Thursday.

The Joe Ghartey Committee was set up by Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye after Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga claimed some monies were given to the Minority members of Parliament’s Appointments Committee.

The MP told an Accra-based Radio Gold he received GHC3,000 from Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, but he later returned it after he was told the money came from Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko whose approval was being contested.

Parliament’s First Deputy Speaker Joe Osei Owusu was cited as the one who received the money from the Minister-designate and forwarded it to the Minority Chief Whip.

The Committee was charged with verifying if Mr Osei Owusu received any money from Mr Agyarko. After close to a month sitting, the Joe Ghartey Committee submitted its report Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

MPs are tight-lipped, saying they will only comment on the report after they have concluded debate on it.

But Head of the Parliamentary Centre, Dr Rashid Dramani, told Dzifa Bampoh on Joy FM’s Top Story programme Wednesday the content of the report will be a “make or break” for Parliament.

He said the Committee’s report might help the image of Parliament if the allegation made by the Bawku MP is found to be untrue. This will affect the reputation of the “whistle blower,” he added.

Mr Dramani urged Mr Osei Owusu to learn to deal with the MPs who made the claim if not at the personal level, at the professional level. “He should get over this.”

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