Video: Ayariga bribery scandal throws Parliament into chaos

A half-hearted apology by Mahama Ayariga, the man found guilty of contempt of Parliament in the infamous bribery scandal, threw the House into complete chaos.

Some members of the House nearly exchanged fisticuffs shortly after the Speaker, Mike Ocquaye, left the chamber after attempts to get an unqualified apology from Ayariga failed.

“Mr Speaker if you say I should apologise, I apologise,” he said after raising an objection to the conclusion of the Joe Ghartey Committee report which found him guilty of contempt.

The minority appeared satisfied with the apology, but not the majority. A number of them were incensed, cursing and throwing their fingers about in the air in anger.

Others shouted “by-election! by-election!” pointing to the ultimate sanction an MP could be liable to if found guilty of contempt of Parliament.

The Speaker of Parliament had to defer his ruling on the matter to tomorrow but that even exacerbated the confusion all the more.

Members from both sides converged in the middle with Sam George leading the onslaught for the Minority side.

But for the timely intervention of some other MPs there would have been a fierce exchange of blows.

Shortly after the chaos in Parliament, the Ningo Prampram MP told Joy News the minority side was provoked by some member so of the Majority.

According to him, the Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh insulted Alhassan Suhuyini, something he did not understand.

When asked if he was satisfied with the apology of Ayariga, he responded in the affirmative.

But according to Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent Joseph Opoku Gakpo, the Majority is not happy with the apology.

He quoted the Majority Chief Whip Kwasi Ameyaw Kyeremeh as saying that to the Majority no apology has been rendered.

Background

Mahama Ayariga was found guilty of contempt by the Joe Ghartey committee after he alleged that the Energy Minister bribed members of the Minority on the Appointment Committee.

 According to him they had received an amount of Ȼ3,000 from Muntaka Mubarak which they initially thought was their sitting allowance but turned out to be bribe given by Joe Osei Owusu on behalf of the Energy Minister nominee at the time.

 The bribe was for the minority side to approve the nominee who was then in tango with the committee after a rather feisty encounter during vetting.

 The Energy Minister denied giving any money to Joe Osei-Owusu, the chairman of Appointment Committee to be given as a bribe.

 Joe Osei Owusu was incensed and threatened to go to court on the matter.

 Muntaka Mubarak also denied swearing by Allah that he did not take any money from Osei-Owusu or give same to Ayariga.

Mahama Ayariga, however, insisted on receiving the bribe and together with two other MPs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhassan Suhuyini petitioned the Speaker of Parliament to investigate the matter.

The Speaker then constituted a five-member committee chaired by Joe Ghartey to investigate the matter.

The committee after almost two months of sitting, part of which was held in public, amidst cross-examination of principal witnesses found Ayariga guilty of contempt because he did not give any evidence for the accusation he made.

He was persuaded to apologise in his own interest, and he did, at least he tried.

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