General News of Monday, 3 July 2017
A governance expert at the University of Professional Studies says claims of corruption against Ghana’s parliament could cause the people to question the credibility of the work of members of parliament.
“Parliament needs to do a thorough job before passing bills into law, but how credible will people take their work when every now and then there are allegations of bribery and corruption,” Prof. Albert Opuni said on Onua FM.
His comment comes on the back of fresh allegation that some members of parliament took money from the National Lottery Authority (NLA) before considering the National Lottery Act, 2006.
Former Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, claimed the committee received GH¢100,000 from officials of the National Lottery Authority prior to consideration of amendments to Act 722.
Prof Opuni said Parliament derives its powers from the constitution, which bars the House from taking money from institutions or individuals before considering their bill. He argued that Parliament would engage in shoddy work once money exchange hands.
“If you have been given the critical role of going through all expenditure and approving things, and you are now being compromised then the whole scheme of governance becomes distorted.
“People would continue to influence their (Parliament) decisions if they continue to engage in what they are being alleged to have done”, he said on Thursday.
While underscoring the critical role of Parliament in ensuring transparency and accountability in the use and management of public funds, he said the House must always demonstrate integrity in its dealing.
Parliament as an arm of government would be lost if it continues to be smeared with bribery allegation, he said and suggested that it will be in the interest of parliament to allow an independent committee to investigate the myriads of allegations levelled against the House.
“Democracy is very expensive and in order to achieve transparency, Parliament needs to be resourced so that they can carry out their duties devoid of such allegations.
Ghanaians have the penchant for hiding behind the lack of money to engage in questionable things in the country,” he said.
Considering the system of governance in the country, he said the only thing that would save the country from abuse of power and resources is the checks and balances from Parliament.
Prof Opuni said parliament should not be seen as corrupt or being tagged with such allegations, noting it is high time the Speaker of Parliament set up an independent investigative committee to look into some of the many bribery allegations the House.
“Allegations of this nature needs to be investigated because all that parliament stands for is accountability and transparency, and members must go to the House with some level of integrity,” stated