Parliament to investigate bribery allegations against Appointments Committee

Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu

Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Monday stated that the leadership of the House would investigate the bribery allegations levelled against the Committee.

He said the outcome of the investigation would purge and restore the integrity of the members of the Committee.

Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu made the announcement before the Committee started the vetting of Monday’s Ministerial-nominees, being led with Dr Anthony Osei–Akoto for Monitoring and Evaluation. 

Mr Osei-Wusu said he objected to a suggestion, at an earlier meeting, that the vetting be suspended until the investigations had been completed.

This is because the suspension would impede Government business, he said.

He, therefore, suggested that the Appointments Committee be reconstituted. 

Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and Member of the Committee, has accused Mr. Boakye Agyarko, the Minister of Energy of allegedly giving bribe to the Chairman of the Committee to share among the members of the Committee to influence his approval, after the vetting.

Mr. Ayariga last week told the media that when he received a tip-off that the GH¢3000 he received from the Committee was not his sitting allowance but a bribe from Mr. Boakye Agyarko, he and the other members on the Minority side returned the money.

The Chairman of the Committee said since he joined the Committee, in 2009. it had never deferred its decision on a nominee to the next day, but after every sitting they deliberated on whether a nominee would be approved by consensus or otherwise.

“If anyone had wanted to influence the decision of the Committee then that person should have paid the bribe to us before the vetting process,” he said.

“I feel a lot of pain in my heart as I am sitting here, and I don’t know whether some people in this country are being cynical or not, but I now understand why people don’t trust us again.”

For his part, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader in Parliament, and a Ranking Member of the Committee, said the Minority side would support a full-scale investigation into the matter.

However, he suggested that Privileges Committee of Parliament should rather be in-charge of the investigations since the allegations undermined the integrity of members.

Three Ministerial-nominees are expected to be vetted today.

Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, the nominee for the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry, and Mr Daniel Kwaku Botwe, the nominee for Regional Re-organisation and Development would follow Dr Osei-Akoto.

Source: GNA

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