General News of Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Source: classfmonline.com

Bribery scandal: Neutral probe calls valid – Emile Short

Justice Emile Short, Former Commissioner at CHRAJ

Individuals and organisations who have suggested that parliament should not be the body investigating its own in the wake of a bribery scandal are making a valid argument, Justice Emile Short, a former Commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has observed.

“Those who are suggesting that an independent body carry out the investigation, they have a point because there are many people who will be concerned about whether the investigation by parliament of its own members will be done in an objective and credible manner,” he explained.

Bawku Central Member of Parliament (MP) Mahama Ayariga had alleged that then-Energy Minister-designate Boakye Agyarko had offered cash through Appointments Committee chairman Joe Osei-Owusu to be shared among Minority MPs on the committee.

Mr Ayariga claimed that GHS3000 was paid to each of the NDC MPs by Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, an amount they thought was sitting allowance for MPs on the committee, but returned the monies when they heard a rumour that the amount had actually come from Mr Agyarko to influence them to endorse his nomination as minister.

Mr Osei-Owusu and Mr Muntaka have both denied the allegation.

Subsequently, Mr Ayariga, together with two other members of the committee: Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhassan Suhuyini, sent a petition to the Speaker to investigate the matter.

Aside from the fact that members of the ad hoc committee are legislators, Mr Ghartey is Railways Minister-designate and is yet to appear before the same Appointments Committee to be vetted.

Some critics have raised objections that the arrangement is wrong saying they would prefer another body were mandated to carry out the probe.

Even though Mr Short agreed that an independent body would have been appropriate, he suggested: “We need to give parliament the benefit of the doubt provided the investigation will be done in a transparent and open manner.”

“Let’s wait and see and we can pass judgement after the investigation has been done,” he told Samuel Eshun on the Wednesday, February 1 edition of Radio Gold’s morning show.