Mahama Ayariga found guilty of contempt of Parliament
By Benjamin Mensah, GNA
Accra, March 31, GNA - The Joe Ghartey Committee set up to investigate the bribery allegations against members of Parliament's Appointment Committee has found Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament of Bawku Central, guilty of contempt of Parliament.
The Joe Ghartey Committee, in its report, said it found no evidence to support the allegations and, therefore, recommended that Mr Ayariga, who made the allegation, be sanctioned.
The Committee came to the conclusion that Mr Ayariga failed to prove that Mr Boakye Agyarko, the Energy Minister, gave money to Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, Chairman of the Appointments Committee, to be distributed to the committee members with a view to bribing them to approve his nomination (by consensus).
Presenting the report of the committee to the House on Thursday evening, Mr Joe Ghartey, the Chairman of the Committee, said Mr Ayariga failed to adduce any evidence to substantiate his claim of allegations against the members.
'Everything he said was nothing more than rumours, Mr Ghartey said, adding that 'multiplicity of rumours does not constitute a fact."
He said by publishing rumours about bribery allegations against members, Ayariga had, in no small way, injured the reputation of Parliament and soiled the dignity of the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei-Owusu, who he alleged paid bribes to Minority Members on the Appointment Committee on behalf of the then Minister of Energy designate, Boakye Agyarko.
The committee chairman observed, however, that for security reasons it could not make public what it saw on the CCTV camera, to which a witness in the matter said should be watched.
The committee recommended that the Bawku Central MP be reprimanded in accordance with Parliamentary regulations and the Constitution of the country.
The Reverend Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, invited Mr Ayariga to the bar, by which Mr Ayariga would have to come to the front of the sitting to render the apology.
However, Second Deputy Speaker and MP for Nawdwli Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, who caught the Speaker's eye, and Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, pointed out provisions in the Standing Order, noting also that Mr Ayariga had not been known for unparliamentary behaviour and pleaded for him to stand by his seat to render the apology.
Mr Ayariga, before rendering the apology, drew the attention of the Speaker that the Committee should not have been conclusive on the matter and questioned the procedure used.
Mr Ayariga, however, rendered a conditional apology, saying; 'Mr Speaker, if you say I should apologise, I apologise.'
The Speaker deferred his ruling on the matter to Friday and adjourned sitting.
There was a near brawl between the Majority and Minority members in the House after the adjournment. GNA