General News of Wednesday, 15 February 2017
The Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu said he failed to press for proof or investigated a bribery allegation against his committee because the MP for North Tongu, Okudzeto Ablakwa, told him the allegation was a frame-up.
According to him, the North Tongu MP said the Minority MPs were only trying to equalize the corruption allegations made by the Minister of Energy Boakye Agyarko against former President John Mahama.
The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga had on several platforms alleged that the Minister of Energy Boakye Agyarko attempted to bribe some members of the Appointments Committee to approve his nomination after a rancorous vetting.
The allegation was supported by two MPs – Okudzeto Ablakwa and MP for Tamale North Alhansan Suhuyini -, but Mr. Joe Osei Owusu and Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mohammed who were mentioned in the bribery allegation have flatly denied it.
It was suggested that Mr. Osei Owusu who is also the First Deputy Speaker was used as the conduit by Mr. Boakye to allegedly bribe some members on the committee, who are mainly from the Minority side in Parliament with 3000 cedis each. Parliament therefore set a five-member committee to investigate the allegation, which sat for the first time on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.
When he appeared before the committee of inquiry, Joe Osei Owusu said he was angered by the allegation but in a closed door meeting with Mr. Ablakwa and some MPs, Mr. Ablakwa said they were only “spreading the corruption allegation”, which elicited laughter from those who were in the room.
He said the atmosphere in the room was charged but the admission by Ablakwa calmed down “tempers” because “I had insisted that the allegation is investigated”.
He could not however tell if the North Tongu MP was joking or serious when he claimed that “they put that (allegation) out as an equalization”.
But he noted that in the lobby of Parliament, Mr. Ablakwa repeated his confession in the presence of the MP for Adansi Asokwa, K.T Hammond that the Minority wanted Mr. Agyarko to feel the “heat Mahama faced” when he (Agyarko) called the former leader corrupt.
When asked why he did not press for investigation, Mr. Joe Osei Owusu said he “considered it to be one of the political games and wanted it to go”.
However he became incensed when Mahama Ayariga went on radio stations to continue to peddle “untruth about me”, he indicated. He was emphatic that he never took money from anyone or discussed anything that has to do with money with any member of the Appointments Committee.