Opinions Wed, 19 Mar 2014

Do MPs take bribe?

The Member of Parliament for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban Bagbin took the nation by storm when he alleged that Members of Parliament do take bribe.

He was emphatic on his allegation, explaining that since there was no clear distinction between lobbying and bribery, it was difficult to make the difference between offers made to convince Members of Parliament (MPs) to pass a bill or allow some contracts that come before the august house and the act of bribery.

Mr. Bagbin has further made it clear that he is ready to defend the allegations or, to wits, provide evidence to that effect if the Parliamentary Privileges Committee ever calls him to appear before it.

Typical of every human being, MPs are certainly not happy with the allegation that has the tendency to give the honorable members a bad name and bring them to public disdain.

For the allegations to come from no other than an MP himself, one would be tempted to believe there was an iota of truth in the statement since the one making the allegation includes himself in the ‘scandal’.

It is a fact that Members of Parliament are not infallible angels who are so ‘clean’ that they make no mistakes or don’t do things that are uncalled for, for people in their position.

Indeed, not too long ago, the nation and the international community were shocked at the arrest of a Member of Parliament of Ghana, Mr. Eric Amoateng, over his involvement in the export of narcotics to the US. He is currently serving a 10-year jail.

In 2008, Member of Parliament for Asikuma Adoben-Brakwa, Mr. P.C. Appiah-Ofori, accused his own colleagues in the then majority of taking bribes to pass the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone, leading to the current name of the national asset.

Though the case couldn’t be conclusive because the committee set up to look into the allegations made it clear it had no mandate to go into the matter to some extent, the issue remains fresh in the minds of Ghanaians. What made that particular case very interesting was the fact that the accuser was a member of the majority NPP so the allegation was deemed politically-suicidal but very instructive to observers.

Why would Hon P.C. Appiah-Ofori go after his own kinsmen when he could be a beneficiary of that ‘bribery’ without doing what could have destroyed his own party?

On this current one, why would Hon. Bagbin make such an allegation against a house he is part of? The claims he made clearly indict him since he did not exclude himself.

In both cases, the MPs in question can be seen to be engaged in suicidal allegations; so, does it mean it is true that MPs take bribe? He that alleges, they say, must prove and Bagbin has all the chance in the world to prove his point. Whether he succeeds in doing that or not, one thing remains clear: MPs are not angels!!!

Therefore, rather than being bitter and feeling denigrated by the allegations, it is incumbent on Parliament to, as a matter of urgent; seize the opportunity to put the right measures in place to streamline the act of lobbying in relation to bribery.

Ghanaians vote Parliamentarians to represent them and to take decisions that would favor them (Ghanaians); so, when there are allegations of this nature and attention is be ing drawn to some ambiguities, the best thing to do is to sort them out.

Parliamentarians are not angels but that is not to say the allegations against them are true.

In view of these allegations and happenings, The Catalyst is tempted to ask: Do MPs take bribe?
Columnist: The Catalyst