Former CHRAJ boss, Justice Emile Francis Short, says the report of the Joe Ghartey Committee instituted to investigate a bribery claim against some MPs has not fully resolved all the issues.
He said there are some “unresolved issues” despite a contempt finding made against Bawku Central Member of Parliament (MP), Mahama Ayariga who made the allegation.
The University of London-trained lawyer questioned why the Committee delved into issues that were not part of its terms of reference.
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“The issue of contempt was not before the Committee… it wasn’t one of the terms of reference,” he said on Joy FM’s Midday News Friday.
There was chaos in Ghana’s Parliament after a Committee empowered to investigate a bribery claim against some MPs on the Appointments Committee read its recommendations.
Related Article: Bribery allegations: Ayariga in contempt of Parliament
The Joe Ghartey Committee told MPs Thursday it found no evidence to support Mr Ayariga’s claim that GHC3,000 was handed to some minority MPs.
“The Committee is at a loss…there is no evidence that money was given to the MPs,” Mr Ghartey who chaired the Committee said.
Chairman of Parliament’s bribery investigative committee, Joe Ghartey
He also said there was no evidence that Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko offered any money to bribe legislators.
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“There is no evidence that this committee can rely on that First Deputy Speaker Joe Osei Owusu gave money to Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka,” Mr Ghartey added.
The Committee’s finding dismisses Mr Ayariga’s repeated claim that he was offered GHC3,000 by Mr Muntaka and he returned same after he was told the money came from Mr Boakye.
He peddled this allegation on several media platforms triggering public outcry over the activities of MPs.
Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga
The Committee said after a “critical evaluation” of Mr Ayariga’s claim, it established he gave “credence to rumour that circulated in the media.”
“We find it unfortunate as he failed to ascertain the veracity of the rumour,” Mr Ghartey said.
The Committee went ahead to find Mr Ayariga guilty of contempt as spelt out in Article 112 of the 1992 Constitution as well as Order eight of Parliament’s Standing Orders because of his failure to prove the allegation.
It recommended Parliament to “reprimand” the MP and demand an apology for the “deadly injury” he has caused the image of the House.
First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu cleared of bribery
The Bawku Central MP has been dissatisfied with the work done by the Committee.
In his reaction on the floor of Parliament, he said the Committee was mandated to establish facts and not to outline sanctions.
Mr Ayariga’s position has been supported by Mr Short who said the Joe Ghartey Committee acted beyond its remit.
He said the Committee should have focused on its terms of reference which did not include a recommendation of sanctions.
He also said the failure of the Committee to allow Mr Ayariga to cross-examine the witnesses blights its work.