General News of Thursday, 2 February 2017
NPP Member of Parliament for Effiduase Asokore, Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie was on the floor of parliament recommending the referral of Hon Mahama Ayariga to the privileges committee on his allegation of bribery against some members of the Appointments Committee of parliament.
The Bawku Central MP, accused Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko of bribing some members of the Appointments Committee with GHc3000 each to facilitate his appointment when he met the committee for vetting.
Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, MP for Bekwai, First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee whom he claimed distributed the money to the members of the committee has also threatened a lawsuit against the embattled Bawku Central MP.
However, Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie has appealed to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye to subpoena Mahama Ayariga before the privileges committee for tarnishing the image of the committee.
To him, the allegation has exposed the August House and the committee chairman to public ridicule.
Hon Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie plea to the Speaker
Mr Speaker, taking due cognisance of the provision of order 72 affirmed by 73(1), I humbly crave your indulgence to bring to your notice and allegation bribery levelled against the chairman as well as the other members of the Appointment Committee by the Honourable member for Bawku Central, Hon Mahama Ayariga.
Mr Speaker, currently trending in the mass media is the allegation by my Honourable friend who is also the chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee that, minority members of the Appointment Committee were bribed to approve the nomination of the then minister designate for Energy.
Mr Speaker, the Honourable gentleman is reported to have made mention of the Honourable member of Asawase who is the Minority Chief Whip as his source of evidence.
Mr Speaker, as a friend of the Appointment Committee, I have witnessed the meticulous and the tedious nature of their deliberations recognising also the longevity of their sitting and cautions speed to work in order for His Excellency the President to commence the full business of government.”
Mr. Speaker, an allegation of such severity and sensitivity is not only an embarrassment to the chairman and the members of the Appointment Committee but, by extension, the whole house. This, Mr. Speaker, impugns on our credibility and cripple commitment to work. Mr. Speaker, we have been the subject of public ridicule after the allegation.
Mr. Speaker, inspired by the provision of Order 28 and article 122 of the 1992 constitution, this allegation when unsubstantiated would be an affront to the dignity of parliament and fuel further, the perception of corruption of parliament and parliamentarians in the discharge of parliamentary duties.
Mr Speaker, it is in this regard that I come under Order 30(2) which provide that the act or conduct of member to extent that it “affronts the dignity of parliament or (which) tends either directly or indirectly to bring the name of parliament into disrepute” constitutes a breach of privilege against the Honourable Mahama Ayariga, the member of Bawku Central, and duly appeal to you Mr. Speaker to invoke your powers under Order 31 to have the said member referred to the Committee of Privileges.
I thank you very much, Rt. Hon Speaker for your indulgence.
However, a five-member ad-hoc committee has been set up by Parliament to probe a bribery scandal against the chairman of the Appointments Committee.
The Speaker Prof. Mike Oquaye ruled in favour of the setting up of the “special committee” after both sides of the House had mooted the idea.
The Committee will be chaired by Joe Ghartey, a former Attorney General and the members include Ben Abdallah, Ama Pomaah Boateng, BT Baba and Magnus Kofi Amoatey.
Prof. Oquaye assured that nothing will be “swept” under the carpet although the Committee members are made up of legislators.
The Committee has four weeks to conclude with its investigations. The setting up of the Committee is at the behest of the leadership of the House after the First Deputy Speaker Joe Osei Owusu had formally made a complaint to the Speaker on Tuesday.