Members of Parliament who were engaged in chaotic scenes, after the committee tasked to investigate the bribery allegation made against the leadership of the Appointments Committee by Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga had presented its report, should be punished by the leadership of the House, Yaw Oppong, a legal practitioner and lecturer at the Central University, has said.
According to him, such scenes have brought the image of parliament into disrepute, a situation which should attract sanctions to all those involved in the matter.
There was a near brawl in parliament on Thursday after Mr Ayariga failed to render a sincere apology to the house after he was found guilty of contempt of parliament.
A number of legislators were seen throwing their fingers about in the air in anger after Mr Ayariga tried to question the work of the Joe Ghartey Committee. 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, 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.”
Speaking on this matter on TV3 on Saturday April 1, Mr Oppong said: “What happened in the aftermath may be encouraged if nothing is done about it. Those who were seen on camera engaging in that, similar proceedings should be brought against them…
“Parliament itself should have brought matters relating to the Privileges Committee about all those people because it doesn’t cast a good image of our parliament.”
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