A private legal practitioner Gary Nimako is suggesting the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central should have been expelled for impugning the integrity of Parliament.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme, Saturday, the lawyer said Mahama Ayariga, who is also a lawyer, denigrated the reputations of people and brought Parliament into disrepute, crimes serious enough for expulsion.
He was discussing the infamous bribery scandal in Parliament involving some members of the Appointment Committee of Parliament.
Ayariga was found guilty of contempt of Parliament after he alleged without evidence, that the then Energy Minister nominee Boakye Agyarko had paid Ȼ3,000.00 each to the minority members on the Appointment Committee to approve the nominee.
Agyarko’s approval had been held in abeyance after the minority members felt slighted by comments he made during the vetting process.
Ayariga told an Accra based radio station, Radio Gold, that the Chairman of the Appointment Committee, Joe Osei Owusu paid the money to the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak on behalf of the Energy Minister nominee.
He said Muntaka then paid the money to the Minority members on the committee. Initially they collected the money thinking it was their sitting allowance, only to find out later that the money was bribe so they returned it,” he added.
Shortly after the allegation, Joe Osei Owusu vehemently denied the allegation and threatened to sue the MP. So too was Boakye Agyarko who insisted he had not given a dime and had absolutely no motivation to do same because he was going to be approved anyway, even if by a majority decision.
Muntaka Mubarak who was accused of paying the money, swore by Allah that he did not receive any money from Osei Owusu, neither did he pay same to any member of the minority on the Appointment Committee.
In the heat of the denials, two other minority MPs on the Appointment Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhassan Suhuyini confirmed to having received the bribe and returning it later.
The allegation and subsequent denial triggered a huge public uproar, forcing the Speaker of Parliament to set a five member committee to investigate the allegation.
The Committee chaired by Essikado Ketan Joe Ghartey sat on the matter, held public sitting and interrogated the key suspects in the matter.
After a two month investigation, the Committee presented a 50-paged report which found the Member of Parliament Mahama Ayariga guilty of contempt of Parliament.
The committee found that the member only peddled rumour and had nothing of evidential value to substantiate his claim.
Joe Ghartey said the conduct of the MP was reprehensible and an affront to the reputation of Parliament.
He therefore recommended that the Speaker should sanction the MP after he had rendered an apology to the House.
Ayariga attempted an apology after he protested the outcome of the investigation.
He did not understand how a fact finding committee, will turn itself into a fault finding committee and find him guilty of contempt of Parliament.
“Mr Speaker if you say I should apologise, I apologise,” he rendered a half hearted apology to the Speaker which got the majority members of the House even more infuriated.
The Speaker adjourned sitting but cautioned the MP to return with a formal apology before he would give his ruling on the matter.
On April 7, 2017, Ayariga read his unqualified apology on the floor, admitting to peddling rumour and apologising for same.
The Speaker, then chose to forgive the MP saying “he should go and sin no more.” He however warned that if he should repeat such a conduct, he would be dealt with severely.
On Newsfile, Gary Nimako, who is with the NPP said the Speaker was too lenient with the MP.
He said the demeanour of Ayariga did not show a man who is remorseful for his shameful conduct.
When host of Newsfile Samson Lardy Anyenini, read out possible sanctions for Ayariga which included expulsion, Nimako stated, “that is what should have happened.”
He said Ayariga being a lawyer, should have known that his allegation must be backed with evidence and to the extent that he failed to back his allegation with evidence should have faced the biggest axe of expulsion.
But Editor of the Crusading Guide Newspaper Kweku Baako Jnr who was also on the show was of the opinion that the sanction was in order.
He described the whole incident as irritating, annoying but “believed nothing will come out of this in terms of evidence.
He added the Joe Ghartey committee did far better than previous other inquisitions into similar allegation of bribery against MPs.