Speaker of Parliament, approved the setting up of a five-member committee to probe Ayariga’s bribery claims.
The escalating controversy brought about by Ayariga’s bribery claims, took different dimensions in the last few days. The latest on the issue is that Speaker of Parliament, has approved the setting up of a five-member in-house committee, to investigate the corruption allegations leveled against Boarkye Agyarko and other key members regarding the Energy Minister’s approval.
The five-member committee was set up by the Speaker to probe the claims by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga and some minority MPs that, Energy Minister Boakye Agarko attempted to bribe minority MPs in the Parliament’s Appointment Committee to approve his nomination as Energy Minister.
After much deliberations, Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye upheld a proposal by the Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, for the formation of the Committee despite a call for the matter to be only referred to Parliament’s Privileges Committee. The speaker explained that the Committee has become necessary because of the weight of the allegation made by the Bawku Central Member of Parliament.
About the Bribery Allegations
The alleged attempted bribery by approved Energy Minister Boakye Agarko, to minority MPs in the parliament, has been making rounds on the media. Agarko was accused of attempting to bribe 10 Minority members on Parliament’s Appointments Committee, with GHC 3,000 each, prior to his nomination being approved.
Mahama Ayariga, who championed the claims said that Boakye Agyarko had offered cash to the Minority MPs on the committee through the Appointments Committee Chairman, Joe Osei-Owusu. He had maintained that GHC 3,000 was paid to each of the NDC MPs by Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, an amount they thought was sitting allowance for MPs on the committee.
Ayariga further added that the Minority MPs returned the monies when they heard a rumour that the amount had actually come from Mr. Agyarko to influence them to endorse his nomination as minister.
Despite denial by Minority Chip Whip and MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak and Mr Osei-Owusu, Ayariga’s claims have heightened hence, the emergence of the special committee.
The Special Probing Committee
Ruling on the bribery scandal, the Speaker, Professor Ocquaye explained the necessity of setting up the committee to probe Ayariga’s bribery claims. The emergence he explained, is due to the weight of the allegation made by the Bawku Central MP.
Prof. Ocquaye set up the committee according to Parliament’s Standing Order 191, which indicates that the House may at any time, by motion, constitute a special committee to investigate any matter of public importance. According to him,
Parliament has the power to set up a special committee to investigate into a matter that is of public interest and under that order. I will rule that it is fit and proper for such a committee to be set up accordingly into this matter of public interest.
The Committee which is chaired by Essikadu/Ketan MP, Joe Ghartey, is expected to establish if First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu took money from Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko and gave it to Minority Chief Whip Alhaji Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka.
The committee is also expected to do an internal inquiry to find out whether there were attempts to bribe members of Appointments Committee, as well as look into the remit of complaints and assertions made by First Deputy Speaker about the matter.
Meet the committee to probe Ayariga’s bribery claims
- Essikadu/Ketan MP, Joe Ghartey as Chairman
- (b) Offinso South MP Ben Abdallah Banda
- (c) Juaben MP, Ama Pomaa Boateng
- (d) Talensi MP, Benson Tongo Baba
- (e) Yilo Krobo MP, Magnus Kofi Amoatey