‘Defiant’ Ayariga apologises

The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga on Thursday issued a defiant apology to the Speaker of Parliament after he was cited for contempt by the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the bribery allegations he made against members of the appointment committee.

His apology came after the committee’s extensive probe into his allegations that Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko had sought to bribe the members of the Appointments Committee to lure them into approving his nomination.

The Committee recommended that Ayariga render an “unqualified apology” to the House and purge himself of the contempt “for greatly injuring” the reputation of the chairman of the Committee Joe Osei Owusu and Parliament.

According to the report, Ayariga “failed to ascertain the veracity of the rumour prior to publishing same. The Committee further observed that as a result of the publication, trust and confidence among members and inter-party cohesion needed for consensus building at the Appointments Committee has broken down considerably.

“Individual members of the Appointments Committee had become suspicious of each other. The chairman of the appointments committee indicated his distrust for Mr. Mahama Ayariga while Alhaji Muntaka stressed that it will be difficult to deal with his accusers.

“The reputation and image of the institution of Parliament has been greatly injured by the allegation. The reputation and dignity of the First Deputy Speaker, other members of the Appointments Committee and that of the Minister for Energy equally suffered considerable damage.”

It added: “As a results of these observations, the committee came to the firm conclusion that Mr. Mahama Ayariga is in contempt of Parliament on the strength of Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution, Section 32 of the Parliament Act (1965) Act 300 and Orders 28 and 30 (2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

“The Committee came to this conclusion because Mr. Mahama Ayariga failed to prove that indeed Hon. Boakye Agyarko gave money to Joseph Osei Owusu to be distributed to members of the appointments committee with a view to bribe them.”

However, called by the Speaker of Parliament to apologise to the House, a defiant Ayariga protested that the committee did not have the powers to pass judgment after its investigations.

According to him, the committee was supposed to be a fact finding committee and its findings presented to parliament for debate. He added that none of that had been done stating that the committee’s verdict on him was unlawful.

After several protestations, the former Sports Minister stated that “Mr. Speaker if you say I should apologise, I apologise.”

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