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General News of Thursday, 22 June 2017

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Parliament bribery: I tried intervening but failed – Bagbin

The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has stated that he tried unsuccessfully to intervene in the infamous bribery scandal that hit the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central and a member of the Committee Mahama Ayariga in January ‘wildly’ alleged that Energy minister, Boakye Agyarko, attempted to bribe the minority members of the committee, to clear him following his edgy vetting – but they rejected it.

According to him, the Chairman of the committee Joe Osei Owusu and Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak were the conduit for the alleged bribery attempt.

Acting on a petition from some members of the Minority including the MP for North Tongu in the Volta region, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, the Speaker of Parliament on January 31 constituted a five-member committee chaired by Joe Ghartey, a former Attorney General to probe the bribery claim.

After days of sitting and scrutiny of the evidences provided by the witnesses that appeared before it, including Mr. Osei-Owusu and Mr. Mubarak, the Joe Ghartey Committee in a 50-page report dismissed the bribery claim, charging Mr. Ayariga for “gravely injuring” the image of the chairman of the vetting committee and parliament.

The report, explained that Mr. Ayariga “failed to ascertain the veracity of the rumour prior to publishing same,” hence his indictment.

Indicted for contempt of Parliament, he was thus asked to render an “unqualified apology,” which he did but not without controversy.

Commenting on the development for the first time on Starr Chat with Bola Ray Wednesday, Mr. Bagbin who is also the MP for Nadowli-Kaleo in the Upper West region described the bribery claim as unfortunate noting that he had tried to intervene but failed due to its murkiness.

“I met them…the actors, their stories differ and I have no basis for believing one. My colleague the First Deputy Speaker [Joe Osei-Owusu] who we sit together is passionate about his side of the story, [Mahama] Ayariga is equally and Muntaka [Mubarak] as a Muslim swore on the Holy Quran. So, who am I?” he wondered.

“So, what the committee did was looking for evidence [and] it was difficult to get the truth and they looked at the law and brought the report,” Mr Bagbin, who is tipped as one of the front runners for the NDC 2020 flagbearer race added.