General News of Sunday, 9 July 2017
The issue in which the Members of Finance Committee of the Parliament of Ghana are being accused of collecting money in 2016 from the National Lottery Authority to deliberate on a lottery law, is under very serious consideration by the Leadership of the House.
Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament on Friday said “no one is sleeping,” and the matter is under very serious consideration by the Leadership of the House.
He told the House that the leadership was examining all the parameters of the issue, and directed the leadership to within one week come out with an approach in dealing with the alleged scandal.
The Speaker’s directive follows concerns raised on the matter after Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensa- Bonsu had presented the Business Statement for next week.
A section of the public has alleged bribery, and impugned on integrity of the Finance Committee following a revelation that in 2016, the lotteries regulatory agency, the National Lottery Authority (NLA) led by former Boss, Brigadier General Martin Ahiaglo (Retired), spent GH¢150,000 to facilitate deliberations on the amendment of the National Lottery Act, 2006 (Act 722).
The decision to receive the cash has also raised questions about the propriety of Parliament receiving money to work, for which MPs already drew salaries from the state.
The Speaker said: “I trust that in a week we should have some directive, some common position on which we can act on the matter. No one is sleeping over it at all. All Parliaments’ issues must be seriously examined.”
Prof Oquaye said the situation provided an opportunity for the House to take a holistic look at the relationship between the committees of Parliament and para-statals and other bodies that have legislative concerns.
During the debate, members indicated groups including the GTZ had similarly facilitated training programmes of the Judiciary and in no way compromised the work of that institution.
Meanwhile, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei- Mensa-Bonsu describing the situation as “internal bleeding in Parliament” said the disposition of Parliament lobbying corporate bodies for assistance may cause people to make political capital of the situation.
He suggested the restriction of all stakeholder consultations within the precincts of Parliament, where available committee rooms could be made use of.
This he said would block out the allegations of corruption that crop up anytime parliamentary committees moved outside the capital on weekends for deeper insights on the bills they work on