General News of Monday, 30 January 2017

Source: classfmonline.com

Neutral body must probe bribery saga - Draman

Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy

Investigations into the alleged bribery scandal that hit the Appointments Committee of parliament should not done by parliament given that the leadership of the legislature is implicated in the matter, Dr Rasheed Draman, Executive Director of the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs, has said.

According to him, the public’s confidence in the ability of parliament to handle this matter has been eroded especially because of the alleged involvement of the leadership in the matter, hence a body other than the legislature must be tasked to investigate the matter and submit the report to parliament.

On Friday, 27 January, Bawku Central Member of Parliament 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.

Mr Muntaka has vehemently denied Mr Ayariga’s claims, saying: “I never gave any money to Ayariga.”

Commenting on this matter in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Monday January 30, Mr Draman said: “This doesn’t do any good to the image of parliament, it is certainly a bad moment for parliament. Now it’s his (Ayariga’s) word against the leadership of parliament or against the institution, so I will hope that whatever it is, we need to get the truth, we need to get to the bottom of this issue so that at the end of the day we will know whether Honourable Ayariga is speaking the truth or it’s the institution that is speaking the truth.

“I would suggest, going forward on this issue, perhaps there needs to be an institution outside of parliament that should look into this because I don’t believe a lot of people have confidence in any internal processes that can deal with this, particularly because the leadership of parliament is involved

“We don’t have to be emotional about these things. Let an investigation be carried out and let the facts be established because as for position, everybody can take a position… If investigations conducted, then at least the facts will be established and then maybe the leadership of parliament can take a decision on that.

“I think the Speaker must act on this matter. That is why I said we need an outside body that, at least, at the end of the day will report to parliament, an outside body that will conduct an investigation that is open and transparent so that everybody can follow what is going on.”