General News of Thursday, 16 February 2017
The Chairman of Parliament’s Appointments Committee says he had been uneasy and could not maintain eye contact with his members a day after he was implicated in a bribery allegation.
Joseph Osei-Owusu said he had found it challenging to steer affairs of vetting of the second batch of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Ministerial nominees after the incident.
Responding to questions before Parliament’s Special Investigation Committee Wednesday, the Bekwai Member of Parliament (MP) said he regained his composure following repeated pressure from friends through text messages to man up.
“From Monday it was difficult for me to look at people’s faces,” he said under a tone dried of humour.
Mr. Osei Owusu and Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Muntaka were implicated after it was alleged they received the sum of GHC100,000 from Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko as bribe money for his approval.
Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga who made the claim on Accra-based Radio Gold said GHC3,000 was offered to members of the Appointments Committee to approve the nomination of Mr. Agyarko.
However, after they were told the money was offered the Committee by the Energy Minister whose approval was being challenged, the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) members returned their share to Mr. Muntaka.
The narrative has been contested by Mr. Osei Owusu and Muntaka who both denied receiving and dishing out money to the MPs. They both accused Mr. Ayariga of peddling falsehood.
Public calls for an independent probe to be instituted into the matter led to the establishment of a five-member Special Committee.
Speaker of Parliament Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye who sanctioned the formation of the Committee charged them to unearth the truth about the issue.
Railways Development Minister Joe Ghartey was mandated to chair the meeting.
Mr. Osei Owusu who is the First Deputy Speaker of the House said he had been ‘livid’ and emotional after the incident.
“Friends took photo of me to show me...I was truly not myself,” he added.