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01 February 2017

Parliament’s bribery probe: Ace banks on Ghartey’s integrity

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A Private legal practitioner is banking his hopes on the integrity of MP for Essikado/Ketan Joe Ghartey, to unravel the mystery behind the latest bribery scandal that has hit Parliament.

Ace Ankomah believes Mr Ghartey and four of his colleague Parliamentarians cannot afford to sacrifice their personal credibility and integrities on the altar of parliamentary expediency.

The five have been tasked by the Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Ocquaye to, among other things establish if money exchanged hands in the approval of the then Energy Minister-designate Boakye Agyarko.

The members of the committee drawn from both sides of the House are Joe Ghartey, Chairman, with members as Offinso South MP Ben Abdallah Banda, Juaben MP, Ama Pomaa Boateng, Talensi MP, Benson Tongo Baba, Yilo Krobo MP, Magnus Kofi Amoatey.

The setting up of the committee became necessary following a claim by Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga that Minority members on the Appointment Committee of Parliament were paid an amount of GHȻ3,000.00 to facilitate the approval of the Boakye Agyarko, whose vetting and approval process had been shrouded in controversy.

Ayariga claimed they received the money from their chief whip Muntaka Mubarak thinking it was their sitting allowances, only to find out later that it was a bribe money paid to Muntaka by the Chairman of the Appointments Committee Joe Osei Owusu on behalf of the Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko.

He said they have since returned the money. Two other MPs, Alhassan Suhuyini and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa have corroborated the claim by Ayariga but the supposed actors in the bribery scandal have all vehemently denied the claim with two of them threatening court action against Ayariga.

Joe Osei Owusu stated unequivocally clear that he had not received any money from Agyarko, neither has he paid same to Muntaka. He said the claim by Ayariga was a “colossal untruth” and has sought the blessing of the Speaker to sue his colleague MP.

Boakye Agyarko, arguably the best performing nominee at the vetting, has also sworn he never paid any money and threatened to sue.

Muntaka Mubarak has sworn that at no point did he give money to Ayariga.

The claims and counter claims have left Parliament badly bruised with the general public visibly angry.

There have been calls for an investigation into the matter, but the bipartisan parliamentary committee special committee announced, Tuesday, has allayed little fears.

Critics say, Parliament cannot proceed to investigate itself and with the Chair of the Committee being a nominee himself and set to appear before the same committee cited in the bribery scandal, the criticisms have not stopped flooding in.

But speaking on the Super Morning Show, Wednesday, Ace Ankomah said the committee have a bigger burden to satisfy Ghanaians with an enduring investigation and revelation that will stand the test of reason and objectivity.

He said the members of the committee have their integrities  at stake and cannot afford to disappoint the public who are keenly watching what the outcome will be.

He would however want the police to begin their own investigation into the matter, an investigation which he said can run concurrently with that of the Parliamentary investigation.

He stated the police does not need to receive a complaint before proceeding to investigate criminal matters.

He said this bribery scandal has criminal elements involved and must be investigated and the culprits punished.

 

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