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Opinions of Thursday, 13 March 2014

Columnist: Dowokpor, William

MPs Bribery Allegation Calls for Reforms

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) wishes to call on parliament, civil society organizations and the citizenry in its entirety, to take an objective view of allegations made by a former Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Bagbin, that some MPs collect bribes to champion certain agenda in the legislature.
While we appreciate the real likelihood of the allegation having a negative effect on the image of the legislature, we believe it presents a great opportunity for parliament to re-examine itself and champion reforms that would lead to a strong legislature, to serve as an effective check on the Executive, to the extent that it cannot be bribed by the Executive, let alone civil society organizations, as alleged by Hon. Bagbin.
This development should serve as the catalyst that would lead to the constitutional reform of separating the Executive from the Legislature; where members of the Legislature, will no longer be allowed to serve as Ministers of state; a feature that has rendered the Legislature the weakest link in Ghana’s governance system.
We disagree with calls for legislation on lobbying, which we believe would be of no effect as majority will always have their way and minority, only their say, should the status quo remain the same. In fact, we believe the development of an “acceptable” formula for lobbying the weakest arm of government would only lead to legitimizing bribe taking by some MPs as alleged by Hon. Bagbin.
To the extent that an official complaint to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) could lead to full investigation into the allegation, we will be happy to join the complainants.
We however, remain committed to our reform agenda for incorruptible leadership, open and accountable governance; and take this opportunity to re-iterate our recommendations to the Constitutional Review Commission, the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee and President John Mahama, on the need to separate the Executive from the Legislature to restore Parliament’s full strength in legislation, representation and the performance of oversight functions.
William Dowokpor
Convener, PPP Anti-Corruption Campaign Coalition, Accra.
Contact: 0243588422.