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CHRAJ Undecided On Re-Investigating Parliamentary Bribery Scandal

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says it will take a look at the Joe Ghartey Committee report in arriving at the decision on whether to launch another investigation into the Parliamentary Bribery Scandal or not.

The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, however, emphasised the fact that CHRAJ was not going to review the report, but would merely read it as a basis in arriving at its decision. He promised to make any decision taken public.

“Evidence is the name of the game,” he told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday.

Mr Whittal was of the view that the Joe Ghartey Parliamentary Committee that investigated the matter had been thorough enough.

“What are we going to get with a new investigation, beyond what the ad-hoc Parliamentary committee that investigated the matter had?” he queried in his response to the question on whether CHRAJ was going to launch a full-scale investigation into the matter.

Petition

Last week, Mr Listowel Nana Poku revived his petition to the CHRAJ after the Joe Ghartey Parliamentary Committee released its report and found the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga, guilty of contempt of Parliament.

When the scandal broke in January this year, Mr Poku petitioned CHRAJ to investigate the allegations.

Mr Whittal explained that Mr Poku’s complaint was made at the same time that three MPs, that is, the MP for Bawku Central, Mr Ayariga; the MP of North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and the MP of Tamale North, Mr Alhassan Suhuyini, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament for the matter to be investigated.

Mr Whittal said CHRAJ, therefore, deferred to Parliament to investigate the matter.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of the Joe Ghartey Committee report released on January 29, 2017, Mr Poku revived his petition to CHRAJ for the matter to be re-investigated.

“We will take a decision in the course of the week. Our challenge is whether we can get any new evidence apart from what was gathered by the Parliamentary Committee,” he said.

“If Mahama Ayariga and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa had any evidence, we all would have heard it,” he maintained.

Mr Whittal said CHRAJ would, however, go through the report to determine if there were any areas left uncovered, and proceed with that.

Background

In February this year, Mr Ayariga alleged that the MP for Asante Bekwai and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei Owusu, was at the centre of allegations of the disbursement of GH¢3000 to each member of the minority side on the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP).

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