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07 July 2017

Parliament: Speaker gives one-week deadline to deal with bribery claims

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye has tasked the leadership of the House to within one week come up with a cogent approach towards dealing with an alleged bribery claims against  Parliament Committees sittings outside the capital, Accra.

The directive follows recent allegations that National Lottery Authority (NLA) paid over GHc150, 000 to facilitate a meeting over the Lotteries Bill that failed to pass last year; a revelation that has called the integrity of Parliament into question once again.

Following agitations from some Members of Parliament (MPs) on the floor on Friday over the matter, the Speaker indicated that this was an opportunity for Parliament to take a holistic look at the relationship between the committees of Parliament and parastatals and other bodies that have legislative concerns.

“… 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,” he added.

Meanwhile, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has suggested the restriction of all stakeholder consultations within the precincts of Parliament.

This he said would block out the allegations of corruption that crop up anytime parliamentary committees move outside the capital on weekends for deeper insights on the bills they work on.

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 have called for an independent probe into the bribery allegations involving the NLA and members of Parliament’s Finance Committee.

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.

‘MPs take bribes’

The MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban S.K. Bagbin, in 2014 alleged that some MPs take bribes 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.

By: Godwin A. Allotey & Duke Mensah Opoku/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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