General News of 2014-03-10

Bagbin denies he said MPs take bribe

Former Majority Leader, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has denied media reports he said Members of Parliament, like all Ghanaians, take bribes.
The National Democratic Congress MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, one of the longest serving MPs, says his comments were completely misrepresented.
Mr. Bagbin told a STAR Ghana sponsored workshop at the weekend that “the reality is that MPs are Ghanaians and there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor and try to articulate the views of their sponsors.”
He stressed the situation obtains “because in Ghana we have not developed what we call lobbying. There are rules; there are ethics regarding lobbying and we in Ghana think that lobbying is taking money, giving it to MPs and writing pieces for them to go articulate on the floor. That is bribery.”
But speaking on Adom FM Monday morning after the media reported the comments, Mr. Bagbin said he had been misquoted “completely.”
He said the comments were taken out of context and the entire reportage unfair. Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, commenting on the matter on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday, said “It’s untrue that Members [of Parliament] take bribes.”
“After taking care of maybe their hotel accommodation, providing meals and so on, they will give them something for transportation; I mean fuel money,” he stated.
Mr. Mensah-Bonsu insisted that there cannot be bribery in this.
The New Patriotic Party MP for Suame in the Ashanti Region conceded interest groups lobbying for the passage of laws or amendment of bills before the House often give MPs transportation when they are invited to meetings.
He argued the amounts are often so small that they can’t constitute bribes. He, however, conceded that MPs lobby to be placed in specific committees of the House which they believe are lucrative.