The Joe Ghartey Committee says it found no evidence to support the bribery claim made by Bawku Central Member of Parliament (MP), Mahama Ayariga.
The Committee said it arrived at the conclusion after a thorough interrogation of submissions given by witnesses who appeared before it.
Presenting the report before Parliament Thursday, Committee Chairman Joe Ghartey said they established that Mr Ayariga acted based on a rumour.
“After a critical evaluation…[it was found] Mahama Ayariga gave credence to what was circulating in the media by repeating the rumour,” he said.
“We found it unfortunate as he failed to ascertain the veracity of the rumour,” Mr. Ghartey said.
The general conclusion of the Joe Ghartey Committee puts to rest the raging debate about the bribery allegation which was made by Mr Ayariga. He had claimed the sum of GHC3,000 was given to National Democratic Congress MPs on the Appointments Committee.
He told journalists NDC MPs returned their money to Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka after they were told the money was a gift from Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko whose nomination was under consideration.
However, the Committee’s report exonerates the Energy Minister as well as First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu who was mentioned as the one who received the money from the Minister.
The Joe Ghartey Committee was emphatic that, “There is no evidence that Boakye Agyarko bribed members of the Appointments Committee [and] there is no evidence that Joe Osei Owusu gave money to Mohammed Muntaka.”
Mahama Ayariga and Contempt
The Committee found Mr Ayariaga in contempt of Article 112 of the 1992 Constitution as well as Order 8 of Parliament’s Standing Orders because of his failure to prove that the money was given to MPs.
They recommended to Parliament to “reprimand” the MP and exact an apology from him for the injury caused the House by the allegation.
The Committee said that “rather than harsher punishment,” the MP be given a milder one since he does not have the penchant for engaging in acts that bring the reputation of Parliament into disrepute.
Pursuing the matter in court
With regards to the plea by Mr Osei Owusu to be given the power to head to court to clear his, the Committee said it does not support that.
“We do not recommend that leave should be given to Osei Owusu…we are of the view that to take this matter to court will undermine the power of Parliament,” Mr Ghartey added.