The Joe Ghartey committee has warned that the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei-Owusu, will undermine the dignity of Parliament if he pursues the bribery allegations against him in court.
The warning formed part of the Committee’s report which found the Bawku Central Member of Parliament, Mahama Ayariga, in contempt of Parliament for making the allegations which were said to be without substance.
The Committee deemed its investigation into the allegations adequate enough, and thus urged Mr. Osei-Owusu not to take the matter to court to clear his name as he had initially threatened.
“After this process by Parliament’s special committee to investigate this matter, we are of the view that to take this matter to court will be to undermine the dignity of Parliament. The courts have not hesitated on their part to say that parliament is a master of its own procedures and arguably its own proceedings.”
The Committee added that “we therefore resist the temptation into looking into the remits and the complaints and assertions made by the First Deputy Speaker about the matter any further than what has been done above and subject to our recommendations.”
The Bawku MP alleged that Boakye Agyarko, attempted to bribe the 10 minority members on the Appointments Committee with GHc 3,000 each to ensure the approval of his nomination as the Energy Minister.
Mr. Ayariga also said Mr. Osei-Owusu served as a courier for the bribe money, which was given to the Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka for onward disbursement.
The Committee recommended that Mr. Ayariga be reprimanded by the Speaker of Parliament in accordance with section 35 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300).
It further recommended that Mr. Ayariga renders an unqualified apology to the House of Parliament thereby purging himself of contempt. The Joe Ghartey committee arrived at its conclusion because Mr. Ayariga failed to prove that Mr. Agyarko gave money to Mr. Osei-Owusu to be distributed to Members of the Appointments Committee with a view to bribe them.
‘I apologize if you say I should’ – ‘Defiant’ Ayariga to Speaker
Meanwhile, the Bawku Central Constituency, Mahama Ayariga, on Thursday evening, practically rejected recommendations of the five member Joe Ghartey committee that investigated bribery allegations against Members of the Appointments Committee and Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko. Mr. Ayariga, who appeared unhappy with the work of the committee, reluctantly rendered the apology, saying : “Mr. Speaker, if you say I should apologize, I have apologized.” Before this apology, he said the committee’s recommendations were problematic, especially when it failed to conduct due diligence by cross examining the “other sides” to arrive at a fair conclusion.
This is regardless of the fact that Mr. Ayariga and his other colleagues who made the allegation, failed to provide any hardcore evidence to support their claims. He also questioned the powers of the committee to find him guilty of contempt. The Speaker is expected to deliver his ruling today [Friday], on the recommendations of the committee.