General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
A claim by Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga that Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko attempted bribing members of the Appointments Committee with GHS3000 each was a "colossal untruth" smacking of "bad faith", Chairman of the committee Joseph Osei-Owusu has said, and further begged Speaker of Parliament Mike Oquaye to grant him leave to sue Mr Ayariga to redeem his dented image.
"Mr Speaker … I Joseph Osei-Owusu, MP for Bekwai, First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee have never discussed, requested, demanded nor received money of whatever quantum from Mr Boakye Agyarko for myself or committee members from Mr Boakye Agyarko or any other person for that matter. Neither have I discussed, offered or given any money to Hon Muntaka Mubarak for himself or for the members of the Minority on the Appointments Committee. The allegation by Hon Mahama Ayriga, therefore, is a colossal untruth, which has done grievous damage to my reputation, my hard earned integrity as a lawyer of 27 years' standing, a public servant of high repute, and a respected MP for Bekwai in the Ashanti Ashanti Region," Mr Osei-Owusu said on the floor on Tuesday, 31 January.
According to him, "The Appointments Committee always takes a decision on every nominee who appears before it as soon as the day's proceedings are over. Mr Speaker, the decision on Mr Boakye Agyarko and Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo were taken the same night after they appeared before the committee – i.e. 20th and 23rd January, respectively. The decision was that the Minority will not support them and, therefore, they will be recommended to be approved by majority decision in the house
"The charge of bribery to pass the nominee, therefore, does not fit into the equation as the nominee had already been recommended to be passed by the Majority the same night the nominee was vetted. Mr Speaker, recognisably the NPP has such a huge majority in parliament and as such does not need to pay a bribe to have its way in this house, that is, assuming bribery has been part of this business of this house.
"The need to have consensus is largely to benefit the Minority to the extent that their concerns may be taken into consideration in decision-making. To turn around to accuse the Majority of bribing the Minority, therefore, is illogical, ill-motivate and in bad faith
"Mr Speaker, I have a dilemma, my fervent heart desire is to go the civil court to reclaim my integrity. I'm, however, aware of the challenges one has to battle with in any litigation involving a sitting member of parliament but Mr Speaker, you have the power to permit service of court processes on a sitting member of parliament through your office, I crave your indulgence to assist me to ventilate my grievance in court, if I'm successful, it may help redeem the image of this parliament which is often battered by its own members."