Pressure Group, Critical Thinkers International (CTI), has asked the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, to review the punishment prescribed for Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga over his bribery allegations against members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
CTI, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Adiepena Mirekua Sarpong, said, “We have listened and read from the media of the findings and recommendations of the Ghartey Committee, which was set up to delve into the bribery allegation by the MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga against some of his colleagues in Parliament and the Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko.”
The Joe Ghartey Committee on Thursday found Mr Ayariga guilty over the allegations.
The committee was established after allegations by Mr. Ayariga that the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei-Owusu, had given GH¢3,000 each to minority members of the committee to approve the appointment of the then Minister Boakye Agyarko after his vetting.
“From what we have read, we have learnt that the Speaker, Hon. Prof. Mike Oquaye, pushed for Hon. Mahama Ayariga to apologise to the Parliament House for his contempt of the House after which the Speaker was to only reprimand him with regards to the recommendation by the committee,” it said.
“CTI finds this punishment meted out to Hon. Ayariga as too lenient, especially considering his arrogant and non-remorseful posture even after he had been found guilty of the crime against his parliamentary colleagues, Minister of Energy and the House in general,” it said.
“We, as a result, with all respect of the House want to appeal to the House, through the Speaker, to if possible get his verdict reviewed for either a suspension or expulsion from Parliament as the law allows as options.”
“But if there is due process which should be followed by the House before the above punishment can be meted out to him in Parliament as being held by Hon. Mahama Ayariga and former CHRAJ boss, Justice Emile Francis Short, then we pray the House should follow that process so that our democratic principles will be upheld and strengthened through it.”
“We again want to emphasise that a harsher punishment than just an apology followed by a reprimand will be the best to serve Hon. Mahama Ayariga so as to help deter other MPs from doing same in future,” according to the statement.
“We will also through this letter want to appeal to the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and the Harvard Law School to also apply the appropriate sanctions.”
By Melvin Tarlue