The divisions that have resulted from the final report of the Ghartey Committee, tasked to investigate the bribery allegation against the leadership of the Appointments Committee of parliament by Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga, are an indication that a good number of MPs are in disagreement with the findings of the committee, Dr Mohammed Abass, political science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has said.
According to him, Ghanaians expected that members of the legislature will, in unison, accept the work of the committee, but to the extent that that has not been achieved, one can conclude that some lawmakers have reservations with the work of the committee.
The Ghartey Committee, which investigated the allegation made by Mr Ayariga against the leadership of parliament’s Appointments Committee, has found him guilty of contempt of parliament.
The 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, recommended 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.”
There was a near brawl in parliament after the report was presented to parliament by the chairman of the committee.
Speaking in an interview with Accra News’ Nana Ama Agyarko on Friday March 31, Dr Abass said: “We cannot say that this report has exonerated parliament, because of the divisions among the MPs themselves regarding the committee’s report.
“I think that, going forward, an external body should be tasked to look into matters of this nature. The fact that the Members of Parliament themselves are divided on the matter shows that the findings have not been accepted.”
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