General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
The bribery scandal that has hit parliament’s Appointments Committee is a seismic one that requires a special committee to probe, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said.
According to him, although the Privileges Committee has usually been tasked to look into matters of this nature in parliament, the person accused in the allegation is the Chair of the Privileges Committee, hence referring the matter to that body would not be ideal.
Speaking on the floor of parliament in relation to this matter on Tuesday January 31, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said: “The allegation that has saturated the entire Ghanaian public over the past four days is indeed an earthshaking allegation and must be handled with extreme care.”
“In this particular case, the primary person who has been cited, the Honourable Osei-Owusu, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, doubles as the Chairman of the Privileges Committee. So, in this particular instance, if the matter is referred to the committee, he would be required to chair. In the alternative, he may recuse himself for the Vice Chairman to be in the chair.
“My worry is that if it should go to the Privileges Committee, it may attract unnecessary partisanship and for that reason, I tend to agree with the application by the Minority Leader (Haruna Iddrisu) that the matter be sent to a special purpose committee charged with responsibility for delving into this matter.”
On Friday January 27, Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga alleged that Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy, whose approval was frozen pending the determination of certain issues, dished out GHS3000 as bribe to each of the minority members on the committee with the aim to influence them so they approve his nomination without further delay.
Mr Ayariga claimed the money was given to Committee Chair Joe Osei-Owusu by Mr Agyarko, who in turn channelled it through Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak to the MPs, who, according to the Bawku Central MP, subsequently rejected it.