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General News of Monday, 10 March 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

Bribery Scandal: Stop behaving like Ostriches - Bagbin tells MPs

After an initial attempt to deny bribery allegations he made against Members of Parliament, former Minority Leader Alban Bagbin has turned the guns right back at his colleagues accusing some of them of taking bribes.

Babgin was reported to have made the allegation at a STAR Ghana organised workshop. He was quoted to have said “the reality is that MPs are Ghanaians and there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor and try to articulate the views of their sponsors.”

“Because in Ghana we have not developed what we call lobbying. There are rules; there are ethics regarding lobbying and we in Ghana think that lobbying is taking money, giving it to MPs and writing pieces for them to go articulate on the floor. That is bribery,” he added.

Shortly after his comments were made public the Nadowli Kaleo MP said his comments had been completely misrepresented.

He accused the media of misquoting him and taking his comments out of context. Barely a day after his denial, the MP who has served 24 years in Parliament has admitted saying that MPs, like Ghanaians are corrupt.

He told Peace FM's Kwame Sefa Kai that organisers of the workshop had given him the assurance that the workshop was in confidence and that participants would have to be as truthful and as candid as possible.

Bagbin said at the tail end of the workshop one of the participants asked him if he was aware that some MPs take monies before discharging their duties as MPs.

He explained it was this question that provoked his answer.

He said he was only being truthful when he said some MPs collect bribes. "It is an open secret," Bagbin said challenging his colleagues to stop behaving like "ostriches" and admit to the offence.

He admitted that if he knew his candid conversation would become a subject of public debate he would not have made the confession.

But the MPs are angry with the statement by Alban Bagbin.

The Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu challenged Mr Bagbin to provide evidence of his allegation.

Joy News is learning of moves in Parliament to drag the Alban Bagbin before the privileges committee.

Eric Kawkye Darfor, a member of the committee told Joy News' Parliamentary Correspondent Elton John Brobbey that even though the comments by Bagbin still remain an allegation, it has the potential of denting the image of Parliament.

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