Ayariga’s Bribery Claim: Why Probing Committee Found Bawku Central MP Guilty Of Contempt

After debunking Mr. Ayariga’s bribery claim, the Special Probing Committee asked him to render an unqualified apology to purge himself of contempt

The long-lasting case on Mahama Ayariga’s bribery allegation has finally gotten to a significant stage, as the Bawku Central MP has been found guilty of contempt of Parliament by. This follows earlier investigations into bribery allegations against some minority members of  Parliament’s Appointments Committee.

The five-member special probing committee tasked with investigating the corruption allegations have also recommended that Mr. Ayariga be reprimanded by the Speaker of the House. Chairman of the probing committee Hon. Joe Ghartey, moved the adoption of the 50-page report to the house on March 30, with the Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Ocquaye presiding.

According to the report, “Mr. Mahama Ayariga is in Contempt of Parliament on the strength of Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution, Section 32 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300) and Orders 28 and 30 (2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament.” The report emphasized that Mahama Ayariga failed to provide any evidence to back his allegations of bribery against the Chairman of the Appointments Committee Joe Osei Owusu and Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mohammed.

The Ghanaian public finally has something to hold on to, in the controversial parliament bribery case involving some minority and majority members of the Appointments Committee.

Ayariga’s bribery claim -Background

The case on the bribery scandal emanated from a Minority member of the Appointments Committee, Mahama Ayariga. Ayariga alleged that Mr. Boakye Agyarko, attempted to bribe minority members on parliament’s Appointments Committee with GHc3000 each to ensure the approval of his nomination as the Energy Minister.

The Bawku Central MP claimed that Mr. Agarko had offered cash to the minority MPs through the Appointments Committee chairman Joe Osei-Owusu. He had maintained that the GHc 3000 was paid to each of the NDC MPs by Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Muntanka Mubarak, an amount they thought was sitting allowance for MPs in the committee.

The minority MPs he continued, returned the money when they realized that it was instead coming from Mr. Agyarko, to influence them to endorse his nomination as minister.

MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini and the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, backed Mr. Ayariga’s claims and joined him to petition the Speaker of Parliament to thoroughly investigate the bribery claims against Mr. Agyarko.

The massive controversy resulting from the issue had led to the approval of a Special Probing Committee by the speaker of parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye. The probing committee was tasked to investigate the corruption allegations leveled against Boakye Agyarko and other key members of the parliament.

The Special probing committee after series of investigation has now found Ayariga guilty of contempt. Chairman of the committee, Joe Ghartey stated in his presentation that; all statements made by Mahama Ayariga in the media and other platforms were nothing more than rumors. The committee also concluded that there was no evidence to support the assertions made by the Bawku Central MP and hence, the allegations could not be proven.

Ayariga Asked to Apologize

After debunking Mr. Ayariga’s bribery claim, the Special Probing Committee asked him to render an unqualified apology to purge himself of contempt. Ayariga who rejected recommendations of the five-member Joe Ghartey committee was reluctant at first to apologize.

He said the committee’s recommendations were problematic, especially when it failed to conduct due diligence by cross-examining all the parties involved, to arrive at a fair conclusion. However, the Bawku Central MP reluctantly rendered the apology.

Mr. Speaker, if you say I should apologize, I have apologized, he said

It won’t be wrong to say that the case on Ayariga’s bribery claim is heading to a seeming closure at last. After Ayariga’s apology, the Speaker is now expected to deliver his ruling on March 31st, on the recommendations of the committee. This ruling is expected to state explicitly whether Ayariga’s apology would be accepted and the way forward for the Appointments Committee.