General News of Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Source: TheChronicle.com.gh

Agyarko, Ayariga to square off as bribe probe begins tomorrow

Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, will be grilled tomorrow by the Special Committee set up by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, and headed by legal luminary, Joe Ghartey, to probe the bribery allegation he and his team had leveled against the Minister for Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko.

Ayariga had alleged that the Energy Minister bribed them with GH¢3,000, through the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mohammed, to influence his smooth endorsement by the House.

Alhaji Muntaka has already denied the allegation that he was used as the conduit for the transfer of the alleged money to Mahama Ayariga and his colleagues, who claimed to have received the money.

Messrs Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini have all come out to state that they also received the alleged the bribe money. But Mr Boakye Agyarko, who was supposed to have given out the alleged money, has denied the charge, and actually threatened to seek legal remedies to redeem his image.

But despite this denial by both Muntaka and Boakye Agyarko, Mahama Ayariga, joined by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhaji Sayibu Suhuyini, went ahead to petition the Speaker to conduct investigations into the case.

In their petition to the Speaker, the three wrote: “This is a joint request by Hon. Mahama Ayariga (MP) Bawku Central Constituency, Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP) North Tongu Constituency and Hon Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini (MP) Tamale North Constituency to you the Rt. Hon Speaker of Parliament.

We jointly request you to carry out an internal enquiry into the veracity of the claims made by us in the allegation of attempted bribery of the Minority Members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament by a ministerial nominee. We, the three (3) Members of Parliament, will subject ourselves fully to the processes of the enquiry. Please, accept our highest regards.”

It was based on this petition that the Speaker set up the Joe Ghartey Committee, with Ben Abdallah, MP for Ofinso South, Ama Pomaaa Boateng, MP for Juabeng, BT Baba, Telensi, and Magnus Kofi Amoateng as members.

After almost two weeks of preparatory works, the Joe Ghartey Committee has now set tomorrow to begin hearing of the case, which would be live on both radio and television.

The Committee has so far not announced witnesses they would invite to the appear before them, but The Chronicle gathered that Mahama Ayariga and his group, who are making the allegation, would be the first people to be invited.

There is also the high possibility of an invitation being extended to the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei Owusu, whose name also came up in the allegation, and the minister himself, Mr Boakye Agyarko.