General News of Saturday, 28 January 2017

Source: Classfmonline.com

'Minority not my friends to offer them bribes' – Osei-Owusu

Appointments Committee Chairman, Joseph Osei-Owusu

The chairman of the Appointments Committee of parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has revealed that most legislators from the Minority are not his close associates, making it improbable for him to even approach them with bribes.

“There are not many people from the other side that I like anyway for me to go to that level… I cannot get into friendship with people it seems uncomfortable with to even go and give them bribes. I have been a lawyer for 27 years, can I just get up and go to anyone to offer them bribes? You can only do that with somebody you are friends with” he stated.

The First Deputy Speaker of parliament was reacting to allegations made by the legislator for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, that he served as a conduit for the distribution of monies meant as bribes to minority MPs.

Mr Ayariga had alleged that a quantum of money was given to the Chairman of Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Joe 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 Radio Gold in an interview on Friday 27 January 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 [Joseph Osei Owusu] , 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.

However, the MP for Bekwai maintains that his integrity is intact and no money distribution arrangements have taken place. He stated that he would take the necessary steps to clear his name.

“Hon Ayariga knows that I have never spoken to him or Muntaka or any member about money. I have never received any monies from Agyarko or anybody for that matter… I will take steps that protect my integrity,” he emphasised in an interview on Multi TV’s Newsfile on Saturday, January 28.