General News of Friday, 17 February 2017
The Special Parliamentary Committee investigating the alleged bribery incident against members of the Appointments Committee has rescheduled sitting to Monday with chief suspect in the scandal vowing to appear before any committee to vindicate himself.
Chairman of the committee Joe Ghartey said Friday's sitting had to be rescheduled because the witnesses had not been properly served.
The chief witness in the scandal, Mahama Ayariga, Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak and Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko were advertised to appear Friday to testify on the circumstances surrounding the GHC3,000.00 bribery scandal which has left the reputation of Parliament completely bruised.
When he appeared before the committee on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Appointment Committee, Joe Osei Owusu completely denied the bribery allegations leveled him and sought to suggest that the allegation made by Ayariga and supported by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah was nothing more than a joke.
He set the stage for what would have been a dramatic appearance on Friday with another key witness, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa writing to the committee and asking to be given a hearing.
But when members converged for hearing, the chairman, Joe Ghartey announced the rescheduling of the hearing from Friday to Monday, citing administrative challenges as reason for the suspension.
He said justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done to all the witnesses who will appear before the committee.
He has requested a full report of the testimony given by the chair of the committee Joe Osei Owusu who appeared before them on Wednesday.
He also directed the clerk of Parliament to, within an hour, serve all the witnesses set to appear before the committee on Monday.
Meanwhile Mahama Ayariga who triggered the scandal with an allegation that the Boakye Agyarko had paid monies to the Minority members on the Appointments Committee to have him approved told Joy News Parliamentary correspondent Joseph Opoku Gakpo he is ready to testify.
He will not speak to the substantive issue except to say that he is ready to appear before the committee without a lawyer.
With a petition pending before the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice over the same matter, Mahama Ayariga said he ready to appear before any committee set up to tell the truth.
He would however wish that Parliament be allowed to conclude its investigation before any other statutory institution begins any investigation on the matter.