General News of Monday, 20 March 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Bribery scandal: Another MP to give fresh evidence

Joe Ghartey Ayarigabribery Joe Ghartey chairs the 5-member investigative committee

The release of the Joe Ghartey committee report on the bribery allegations that hit Parliament recently may further delay, as a Member of the House has applied to provide fresh evidence on the matter to the Committee.

This comes at a time when the committee was just about to wrap up on its investigations.

The 5-member Committee was set up following allegations that the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, bribed some members of the Appointments Committee of parliament to facilitate his approval after appearing before it for vetting.

The second Deputy Majority Whip, Matthew Nyindam, who confirmed the development to Citi News, said although the deadline for the submission of the report was due, the Committee would still have to take the evidence of the interested party to prevent suspicion of bias.

“We met last week on a business issue and I raised that issue with the majority leader, and I asked him when this Joe Ghartey thing will be ready, because the public is interested, we are also interested as a house because it is an alleged issue and we all have to clear it. According to the leader, a member said he has some kind of evidence to tender in so they have to hold on for him to bring it so that it doesn’t look like somebody is fighting against the other.”

Matthew Nyindam, who remained tight-lipped on which MP had made the fresh application, said the report would be ready soon.

“It is true that the period given has expired, and I don’t recollect vividly that the speaker extended it, but the report is not ready. It is not illegal; there is no illegality in this. The only thing is that they would have gone to see the speaker for an extension of time and the speaker would have granted that,” he said.

Various civil society groups and individuals are mounting pressure on the committee to release the report on the matter which many say, has dented the image of the legislative body.

Dr. Rashid Raman, the Executive Director of the Africa Center for Parliamentary Affairs, has said that the longer the delay in the release of the report, the more likely Ghanainas will doubt the accuracy of the findings when eventually published.