Former Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in (CHRAJ), Justice Emile has described the response by Bawku Central Mr Mahama Ayariga after he was found guilty of contempt of parliament as interesting.
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.”
But Mr Ayariga argued that he should have been given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses called in the matter and also questioned whether the committee had the power to find him guilty of being in contempt of parliament since according to him, under Order 191, the ad hoc committee did not have such powers.
His half-hearted apology has been criticised widely by the Majority and some pundits.
Mr Short who was commenting on the issue in an interview with Class FM on Friday, March 31 said Mr Ayariga’s claims were “interesting”.
He however urged calm as the Speaker of Parliament Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye was yet to deliver a verdict on the matter
He added that: “I think the very interesting development is the legal issue which ism raided Mr Ayariga as to whether the committee should have found him of contempt but the Speaker has indicated that he will deliver a ruling so let us wait and see if the committee will decided to have a second look at the report based on the comments or objections raised which Mr Ayariga has raised”.
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