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30 January 2017

Ablakwa names more witnesses in Appointments C’ttee bribery saga

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North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has mentioned three more NDC MPs whom he says received GH¢3,000  to allegedly influence the minority members on the Appointment Committee to approve a nominee for a ministerial post.

Samuel Ablakwa says Bodi MP Sampson Ahi, Asunafo South MP Eric Opoku and Odododiodoo MP Nii  Lante Vanderpuye also returned the money believed to be a bribe from then Energy minister-designate Boakye Agyarko.

The North Tongu MP is one of three MPs demanding a parliamentary inquiry into a bribery saga that gutted the Appointments Committee last Friday.

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Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

The lead inquirer is Mahama Ayariga who first went public with the allegation that his Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak gave NDC MPs the money which he received from the Chairman of the Committee Joe Osei Owusu.

Joe Osei Owusu who is Bekwai MP and First Deputy Speaker of Parliament is alleged to have received the money from the Energy minister-designate Boakye Agyarko.

This narration provided by Mahama Ayariga has been disputed by all three persons he has named in the bribery saga.

Joe Osei Owusu has insisted he has given no money to Muntaka who has said and sworn by Allah, he has given no money to Mahama Ayariga.

Muntaka was Ayariga’s critical witness. But with his denial, Mahama Ayariga appears isolated in his claim.

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Photo: Boakye Agyarko, Joe Osei Owusu, Muntaka Mubarak and Mahama Ayariga

But in a saga that is increasingly fluid, two other MPs have come to the defence of Ayariga also claiming to have received the money.

Mr. Ablakwa and Tamale North MP Alhassan Suhuyini say they returned the money after realising it was not sitting allowance but an attempt to unduly influence their work on the Appointments Committee which vets ministers-designate.

Speaking on Adom FM Show Monday, Samuel Ablakwa, referred to the Bible which forbids anyone from bearing false witness against his neighbour.

“There are serious consequences” to anyone who does so, he said and insisted his interest is not in politics but in establishing the truth.

“If this matter is becoming murky, muddy water and controversial, then let’s look into it” he said.

The North Tongu MP expressed worry that of the three arms of government, the legislature is the most hesitant in dealing with allegations of wrongdoing.

He said in the Executive, ministers have had to resign after they are implicated in wrongdoing. In the Judiciary, some judges lost their jobs after a bribery scandal implicated several High court judges.

Yet in Parliament, several allegations of corruption and bribery have been left unresolved.

Popular examples, he mentioned are a 2008 bribery scandal in which a  Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa MP, P.C Appiah-Ofori, claimed MPs received GH¢5,000 to approve  the sale of government’s 70% shares in Ghana Telecom to Vodafone.

One of Ghana’s most experienced MPs Alban Bagbin also claimed in 2014, MPs are corrupt.

“The reality is that MPs are Ghanaians and there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor and try to articulate the views of their sponsors” Alban Bagbin stoked controversy.

In June 2013, ICT and electronics company, RLG offered to build boreholes in each of the 275 constituencies.

It asked interested MPs to indicate on an attached form “the most appropriate town/community the borehole should be sited”. But the offer was described as an immoral attempt to influence MPs after the company’s CEO Roland Agambire was linked to a scandal.

Okudzeto says all these scandals were not dealt with exhaustively. He wants the latest controversy to be an exception.

He wants “swift action”, “swift investigations ” to “restore public confidence” in that arm of government.

 

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