If, indeed, Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga lied about his claim that the Appointments Committee of parliament was bribed by Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko for him to be approved, then he deserves to be punished beyond being asked to render an apology, Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), has said.
According to him, the matter at hand is a serious issue that can have dire consequences on Ghana’s legislature, hence must be dealt with all the seriousness it merits.
Speaking in an interview with Class91.3FM’s Valentina Ofori-Afriyie, on the 505 programme on Friday March 31, Mr Braimah said: “If in the view of the committee what Ayariga said was not true, which to me then will mean that he just sat down and said ‘let me think of a story to embarrass the committee members, the deputy speaker and then the entire house of parliament’, that is a serious matter and I don’t think that will call for an apology, simply apologising and that will be it.
“On the other hand, if it was true that monies were paid but then Ayariga feels that the committee did not do a thorough investigation as he tried to communicate yesterday, then it is important that he be afforded the right platform and the opportunity to prove that these things happened, because we are talking about corruption as a serious matter.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Oquaye has stated that his verdict on the report by the Ghartey Committee will be delivered at the appropriate moment.
After adjourning sitting on Thursday March 31, Prof Oquaye said: “Matters regarding the ruling on the special committee’s findings and matters arising will be delivered in due course.”
The Ghartey Committee, in its 56-page report, said it “came to the firm conclusion that 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 Committee said it “came to this conclusion because Mr Mahama Ayariga failed to prove that indeed Hon Boakye Agyarko [Energy Minister] gave money to Hon Joseph Osei-Owusu [Chairman of the Appointments Committee] to be distributed to the members of the Appointments Committee with a view to bribe them”, as alleged by Mr Ayariga in an interview he granted Radio Gold.
The Committee has, thus, recommended that having established a case of contempt against Mr Ayariga as well as having examined the sanctions regime available, recommends to the house the following:
1. That the Hon member for Bawku Central Mr Mahama Ayariga, be reprimanded by the Rt Hon Speaker in accordance with section 35 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (300)
2. That Mr Mahama Ayariga render an unqualified apology to the House, purging himself of contempt.
The five-member ad hoc committee chaired by Essikado Ketan MP Joe Ghartey said it “took notice of the fact that the Hon Mahama Ayariga is not known to have engaged in acts that tend to disrupt the smooth proceedings of parliament. Neither does he have a penchant nor reputation of engaging in activities which can bring the image and dignity of parliament into disrepute. Accordingly we view the recommendation relating to the sanctions adequate in the circumstances.”
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