General News of Thursday, 16 February 2017
One of the three legislators who have alleged they were bribed to facilitate the approval of a ministerial nominee says he will pursue the matter until the truth is established.
North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has denied claims that he admitted that the bribery allegation against the Chair of the Appointments Committee of Parliament and two other people was fabricated.
Giving his testimony before the first sitting of a five-member committee formed by the Speaker of Parliament to probe the issue, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei-Owusu, said Mr Ablakwa had told him that because former President John Mahama had been labelled corrupt, the allegation was made up as revenge.
“In the conclave, after they had shown that they (Minority) were satisfied and were willing to withdraw their objection and agree for their report to be amended that Hon Osafo Maafo and Boakye Agyarko be passed by consensus, we were going to leave and I said: ‘No. There was this allegation already in the public domain, and Honourable Ayariga is the one alleged to have made that allegation, so, we should discuss that matter after meeting.’ All the Minority members said was [that]: ‘Mr Speaker, cool down, cool down’. And I said: ‘How can I cool down? This allegation is already in the public domain’.
It was at that point that Okudzeto Ablakwa said, ‘Because Agyarko said our president (Mahama) was corrupt, we were spreading the corruption allegation’. The mood in the room changed afterwards,” Mr Osei-Owusu told the Joe Ghartey-led committee.
However, in a rebuttal, Mr Ablakwa took to Facebook on Wednesday to clarify: “May it be known that the so-called confession attributed to me by Hon. Joe Osei-Owusu is nothing but a desperate, malicious and cancerous fabrication which will not be allowed to fester.
“The last time Hon. Osei-Owusu made this same allegation, he hanged it around the neck of Hon. Mahama Ayariga. I guess he had forgotten to be consistent when he appeared before the Special Committee today.
“Let no one doubt my resolve and the extent I am willing to go to vindicate the truth in this matter.
Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga started the controversy when he claimed on Accra-based Radio Gold that GHC3,000 was offered to members of the Appointments Committee to approve the nomination of Mr Boakey Agyarko, who was then waiting for approval for the Energy Ministry portfolio.
However, after they were told the money was offered the Committee by Mr Agyarko whose approval was being challenged, the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) members returned their share.
Mr Ayariga has been accused of peddling falsehood.