2017 Review: Bribery scandal hits Ghana’s parliament
In January this year, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central Constituency, Mahama Ayariga ,made some allegations against some members of the appointments committee of parliament.
He was alleged to have said each member of the committee was given GH¢3,000 to approve the nomination of Energy Minister-designate, Boakye Agyarko
The Joe Ghartey committee was therefore constituted after allegations by the Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga that the Chairman of the Appointment Committee Joseph Osei-Owusu had given the stated GH¢3,000 each to minority members of the committee to approve the Minister of Energy nominee at the time.
Ayariga told an Accra based radio Station Radio Gold that the money was given to the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak for onward distribution to the members of the Minority.
He explained that the Minority MPs on the committee initially accepted the monies thinking it was payment of their sitting allowance.
But when they got to know it was monies from the Minister designate to bribe them, they returned the money to the Minority Chief Whip.
Approval for both Agyarko and the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo had both been shelved by the committee following controversial comments they made during the vetting process.
However the bribery allegation by Ayariga, as dramatic as it was, was met with vehement denials by Joe Osei-Owusu, Muntaka Mubarak and the Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko.
The Minority Chief Whip swore by the Holy Qur’an that he neither received any money from Osei-Owusu nor did he distribute same to Minority MPs on the committee.
Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko also insisted that he never bribed or even attempted to do so because there was no motivation to bribe anybody.
He argued that with the huge majority of the NPP in Parliament he was going to be approved any way even if by majority decision.
Like the chairman of the Appointment Committee Joe Osei-Owusu, Mr. Agyarko threatened to sue Mahama Ayariga in order to clear his name and preserve his hard won reputation.
Following the denials, Mahama Ayariga insisted that even though he was told that the money was to bribe the members of the committee he did not directly receive the monies from Osei-Owusu and Boakye Agyarko.
The Bawku Central MP however maintained the money was paid by his chief whip Muntaka Mubarak.
Mahama Ayariga and two other members of the committee, Alhassan Suhuyini and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa subsequently petitioned the Speaker Prof Mike Oquaye to investigate the matter.
The Speaker then constituted the Joe Ghartey Committee to investigate the matter.
The committee made up of Ben Abdallah, Offinso South; Ama Pomaah Boateng, Juaben; B.T Baba, Talensi; and Magnus Kofi Amoateng, Yilo Krobo sat in public and heard the key players in the bribery scandal including Joe Osei Owusu, Boakye Agyarko, Muntaka Mubarak, Mahama Ayariga and Okudzeto Ablakwa.
The committee after hearing and cross examining the key witnesses compiled the report which was presented to Parliament for a debate.
Joe Ghartey Committee has preferred contempt charges against the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga for bringing the name of Parliament into disrepute, having failed to prove that members of the Appointments Committee were bribed to approve a ministerial nominee.