Opinion | Mar 24, 2017

Ayariga's Corruption Allegation, Dying A Natural Death?

If you are an ardent political pundit or some one constantly monitoring politics in this country, you would realize that pertinent issues are easily relegated and swept under the carpet, once there is another making the headlines.

This has been the political ritual in this country and that gives some politicians the impetus to always play political gimmicks in the gallery so far as public political discourse is concerned. In late February, 2017, a very important controversial issue made headlines.


We write this piece to succinctly make our views on the ensuing issues surrounding this landmark allegation in the national house of the legislature. We have been tasked by the president of the Republic of Ghana to be " citizens not spectators, citizens and not subjects " in the democratic governance of this country. The quote by the president during his inaugural ceremony should arouse the appetite of every Ghanaian to contribute it quota towards the development of this nation by having a say in what ever that is going on in this country whether by engaging in fruitful discourse or by critically analysing issues you are confronted and criticising it as it is.

We were all in this country when the president appointed his ministers and charged the legislative arm of government to speed up a constitutional process geared towards having his ministers at work because he was in a hurry to deliver to the good people of Ghana. In Article 78 of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana,when the president nominates ministers, it is subjected to the *prior* approval of Parliament. Lets place emphasis and importance on the word" prior approval " which is the necessary consideration and the vetting of the said person nominated by the president which is a means the legislative arm of government has adopted in approving any nominee as a minister. Many Ghanaians sees this process of vetting nominees as a waste of time and resources in the sense that, whether the person performs or not,he or she will be approved because at the end of the day, he or she has the majority on the said committee and will definitely be approved no matter the circumstances.

If as a country we have a parliament that practises the principles of " minority will have their say and the majority will have their way" then you should expect nothing better in terms of objectivity but rather partisanship which has killed the spirit of parliament. Our parliament is the power house of this country and for that matter should be seen as the mouth piece of Ghanaians by acting in a way and manner that will not be inimical to the people it is representing.

Again our parliament should be seen as a watch dog over the activities of government and should not allow partisan politics to cloud its sense of judgement.

When the president nominated his ministers he wants to work with, a list of those ministers was sent to parliament of which an ad hoc committee was formed to vet them with respect to the " prior approval" the constitution says. The committee was constituted where the minority had a numerical disadvantage and the majority as it has always been the case had a numerical advantage over the minority side. The prior approval of nominees are either by consensus or a majority decision by the committee.

One serious scandal that rocked the committee was when an allegation of bribery was alleged by some members of the committee from the minority side. Hon Mahama Ayariga and his colleague MPs( Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa and Hon Alhassan Suhuyini) came to inform Ghanaians that, there was an attempt to grease the palm of the minority just to pave way for the approval of Mr Boakye Agyarko.

The public also upon hearing this matter got charged and debated it critically by looking into the merit of the case which was first put out there by Hon Mahama Ayariga.

The scandal was being greeted with public opprobrium. Parliament decided to form a committee after a motion was moved by the majority leader and the minority leader.

In our view however, an independent committee should have been brought in to do independent work.

The Ghartey committee gave an opportunity to some members of the vetting committee who assisted the committee. There was also an opportunity for any member who wanted to assist the committee to appear as a witness after filling in an application for such. This was to give room for any member of the vetting committee to furnish the Ghartey committee information pertaining to the scandal.

The time given to the committee to finish its findings has elapsed which the report should have been presented to parliament for an onward action to be taken by the house. Here we are been told that,as at the time the committee was almost ready to conclude their report to be submitted to the house, an Hon member, we are told, whose name has not been mentioned as we speak today has written to the committee to provide fresh evidence to the matter which was under investigation so the committee was unable to meet the deadline for the submission of the report. Well, we cannot confirm the veracity or the reliability of that media rumor but what we can say is that Ghanaians are far losing trust in the work of the committee.

We are still in a state of shock to believe this cock and bull story by the committee as this is a deliberate ploy to delay their work so that attentions will be shifted from what is considered as a land mark case in the history of our legislative arm of government.

That cannot be the way to go. It does appear Parliament is always quick to work in unison when certain things are in their favour as a house but appears very partisan when it is in the interest of the nation. That is unacceptable. Even upon being referees on their own match, we still expect a true findings of the committee but the too much delay in the release of the report makes it very predictive that the house want to massage the report to protect its integrity and reputation.

The legislature in our view is the pillar and core of our democracy and if the feuding suspicion on the house, then the sanctify of our democracy is dead. That can't be the way to go. The fight against corruption

is a responsibility of all. All over the world, perception is what is used to measure corruption index. It is very essential for Parliament to wash its feet off this cankerous level of suspicion and perception about them as being corrupt. We cannot always subject the executive arm to verbal abuse when it comes to corruption and allegations and remain mute and same is being mentioned about the legislature.

We are advising the committee not to do anything fictitious by way of undue delay or possibly massaging the report. If the house fails to address this issue once and for all, then Ghanaians will know that the parliamentarians are there on their selfish interest. We shall follow all the issues with enthusiasm to the logical conclusion.

We shall be back..........
Denis Andaban
Dawda Eric( Equity®)

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