General News of Saturday, 28 January 2017
The Chair of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu, has warned that he will resort to legal action and bring to book whoever claimed that he served as a conduit in the bribery allegation involving Energy Minister-designate Boakye Agyarko and members of the committee.
Class91.3FM’s parliamentary correspondent, Ekow Annan, reported on Friday January 27 that Mr Osei Owusu, who denied the allegations in an interview with some parliamentary correspondents, said if the Minority members could point out who delivered the money and where the deed was carried out, he would believe such a story. However, he continued, as it stands now, the allegation is not true and should be disregarded.
Earlier Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga confirmed that a quantum of money was given to Mr Osei Owusu by Mr Agyarko to be distributed to Minority MPs on the committee with the intention of influencing them to give him the nod so he could be sworn in as Minister.
Mr Ayariga, who is a member of the Committee, told Accra-based Radio Gold in an interview on Friday that the Minority MPs outrightly rejected the GHS3000 each, which was enveloped for them when they later found out from Mr Osei Owusu that the money was coming from Mr Agyarko.
According to Mr Ayariga, the Minority MPs first accepted the money because they were under the impression that the money was their sitting allowance but got alarmed and decided to return the money after they heard rumours that the money was coming from Mr Agyarko to bribe them.
“We were expecting our committee allowances from the chairman so when we were called by our leader to come and take our money we took it knowing that that is our allowance. So, as for the quantum, we cannot tell how much money he might have given to the chairman, so there are all sorts of speculations about what sort of quantum he is alleged to have given but what we know is what came to us as individuals, that is what we can bear testimony to: whether it’s GHS1 or GHS2, no matter how small it is, what we know is what was given to us and we found out later that it was coming from him so as for the quantum, it’s not important. For me, the most important thing is that we were expecting to be given our committee sitting allowances, and we were promised by our chairman that it would come very soon, and we were called to pick up money from our Whip, we picked it up and assumed that it was our allowances and then later we heard rumours in the house and we called our leader and asked him where is the money coming from, he said it came from the Chairman but chairman said it was coming from Boakye Agyarko so that is where we realised that we [couldn’t] take money from Boakye Agyarko. So we asked him to take his money back, we are not interested. The quantum is insignificant, even if he had brought GHS1million, we will still return it to him,” Mr Ayariga said.
The committee has endorsed eight out of the 13 nominees of President Nana Akufo-Addo who have so far been vetted. The committee is divided against passing Senior Minister-designate Yaw Osafo Marfo and Mr Agyarko.