General News of Saturday, 28 January 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Bribery scandal: I didn’t pay minority a penny – Agyarko

The Minister for Energy, Boakye Agyarko has rejected claims that he bribed to the minority members on Parliament’s Appointment Committee to approve him for the portfolio.

According to the minister, the allegations were only meant to smear him. A member of the Minority in Parliament, Mahama Ayariga, on Friday accused Mr. Agyarko, then a Minister nominee, of attempting to bribe them to have his nomination approved after he noticed they had kicked against his recommendation approval.

The allegation came hours after the Minority had refused to support the approval of Mr Agyarko and Osafo Maafo; Senior Minister nominee, after raising concerns over some statements the two made before the committee during vetting.

The Tamale central legislator in an interview on Accra based Radio Gold, said Mr. Agyarko attempted bribing the ten minority members on the committee with 3,000 cedis each.

But in an interview with Citi News, Mr Boakye Agyarko said “I have not given a single soul a penny. If anybody can cross the heart and say I have given them money, let them step forward.

I say so, that it is not true without the fear of contradiction. It is a fabrication because the allegation is that I said Mahama was corrupt so they also have to smear me to say that I am corrupt and I have not right to accuse Mahama of being corrupt.”

“I am not afraid of man, but if that is how we are going to live our national lives, so be it. But I don’t believe it is the right way.”

Mr Agyarko added that he had engaged his lawyers to look into the substance of the issue and advice appropriately on what action to take. ‘Mahama Ayariga insists there was attempted bribery’ Mahama Ayariga in an interview on the Big Issue insisted that an attempt was made to bribe the members of the committee but he returned the money after gathering the source of the money was Mr Agyarko.

He told host Umaru Sanda Amadu that he had not decided on taking the matter to court but said the Attorney General could take the issue up to court to investigate and prosecute those found culpable since bribery was a criminal offence.

‘Parliament denies bribery allegation’ Parliament in a statement on the matter signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo, said the allegation is untrue and baseless.

The statement said, “parliament has noted with grave concern, allegations that the Leadership and Members of the Appointments Committee have been bribed by some of the President’s nominees to facilitate the recommendation of approval of their nomination as ministers to the House.”

“Parliament will like to state categorically and without any equivocation that these allegations are frivolous and vexatious, and should be discarded.

Parliament attaches a lot of importance to its constitutional duties and abhors practices that will not only affect its work but also bring the institution into disrepute.

Therefore extreme care is taken and thorough background checks are made before chairpersons to the various committees are appointed. This is to ensure that the works they oversee are meticulously carried.

Parliament will therefore like to state that no such event has taken place and anybody having any information to the contrary must resort to the laws of the land and take the appropriate action for redress,” it said.