Minority Divided – ACEPA

The bribery allegation against the leadership of the Appointments Committee of parliament made by Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga and the report of the committee tasked to investigate it has created a rift among Minority Members of Parliament, Dr Rashid Draman, Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), has said.

North Tongu and Tamale North MPs Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhassan Suhuyini respectively supported the allegation, indicating that Asawase MP Muntaka Mubarak had indicated to them that the money was a bribe from Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko to influence the leadership of the Appointments Committee.

But on Thursday March 30, the Ghartey Committee which investigated the allegation said Mr Ayariga’s conduct was in 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.

Speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Friday March 31, Dr Dramani said: “One way or the other Honourable Ayariga and his group, Okudzeto Ablakwa and the others, I think they are going to have to live an isolated kind of life in parliament in the life of the seventh parliament because even within their own ranks within the minority there is a lot of division. I don’t think that the leadership of the Minority will side with honourable Ayariga and his group. As you can see, Honourable Muntaka was the one at the centre of the issue. He denied it and so I think for some time to come this thing is going to have some serious impact on our parliament.

“Until we have another outcome, this is the outcome that we have, so I believe even if Honourable Ayariga did not accept or did not agree with the outcome of the committee’s work given that this what we have right now, a simple apology would have just ended everything and the House would have moved on with its business.”

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