General News of Saturday, 8 July 2017
A former Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHARJ), Justice Emile Short has criticized the Speaker of Parliament’s approach to tackling corruption in the law-making house.
Professor Mike Oquaye on Friday, directed the leadership of the House, to within one week come up with approach towards dealing with alleged bribery claims against Parliament Committees’ sittings outside the capital.
The directive follows recent claims that National Lottery Authority, paid over one hundred and fifty thousand Ghana Cedis to facilitate a meeting over the Lotteries Bill that failed to pass last year.
This has called the integrity of Parliament into question once again. Commenting on the latest development, Justice Emile Short said, the directive is not the panacea to the allegations of corruption that have rocked the house.
He therefore proposed the setting up of an independent investigative body to look in such alleged corrupt acts.
“I think an investigative body outside of Parliament should be set up to look into all the past allegations. For example in the past we had honourable Bagbin alleging that MPs take bribe. Then Martin Amidu made a long statement about bribery in Parliament. People are not happy with the way these allegations in the past have been dealt with..I don’t know whether they are going on a retreat but I do not see what purpose this will serve. I do not see how this will generate public confidence in the integrity of Parliament.”
CSOs call for independent probe into NLA bribery claim
Three anti-corruption civil groups; the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition had called for an independent probe into the bribery allegations involving the NLA and members of Parliament’s Finance Committee when the scandal broke.
A joint statement by 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.
‘MPs take bribes’
The MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban S.K. Bagbin, in 2014 alleged that some MPs take bribe to articulate the views of some individuals and organisations on the floor of Parliament.
Although he came under a wave of attack from some MPs, Alban Bagbin insisted that evidence to that effect existed and added that the practice had persisted because of the lack of laid-down rules and ethics on lobbying in the country.