General News of Monday, 3 July 2017
The Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) has called for a wider probe into the bribery allegations made against the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) and members of Parliament’s Finance Committee.
Supporting calls for a probe into the development, the Executive Director of the ACEPA, Dr Rasheed Draman said broadening investigations to explore why payments are made to MPs will help find a lasting solution to the problem.
“I think that the probe is in order but we must also widen the scope of that probe to look at why is that over the years Parliament has abdicated this responsibility of ensuring that it has enough resources to enable its committees to do their work effectively because that is the root cause. What we are seeing with regards to the Finance Committee is just a manifestation of symptom of that structural problem so we should investigate that as well because that is what will put a stop or find a solution to the problem.”
The calls from ACEPA comes days after three anti-corruption bodies called for an independent probe into the bribery allegations made against both the NLA and Finance Committee.
It has emerged that the NLA spent about one hundred and fifty thousand on members of the Finance Committee in the previous Parliament to facilitate deliberations on the amendment of the National Lottery Act, 2006.
In a joint statement, the three anti-graft bodies noted that Parliament’s integrity was gradually coming into question hence their call for a probe.
“This revelation, coming on the back of the unsatisfactory handling of Honourable Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central’s bribery allegation presents a further challenge to the already dented image of Parliament and growing eroding trust in politics and the political class in the Fourth Republic,” they noted in a statement.
They recommended “the setting up an independent body outside of Parliament possibly chaired by someone of the reputation of Mr. Emile Short, former Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) or someone of similar standing, to look at the alleged bribery case, to investigate this issue, review the payment practices in Parliament and make clear recommendations for regulating these processes.”
They also urged the leadership of Parliament not to sweep these allegations under a rug and “pretend there are no problems with the image and integrity of our Parliament.”