Ghana: Alleged bribery in parliament, Black Stars’ AFCON loss reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – An alleged bribery by a ministerial nominee of Parliament’s Appointments Committee and the elimination of the senior national football team, the Black Stars, at the semi-final stage of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations by Cameroon were some of the stories reported in Ghana this week.

An allegation by an MP of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Mahama Ayariga, that the nominee for Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko, tried to bribe them during his vetting has been widely covered by the media.

Mr Ayariga had alleged that Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak, Minority Chief Whip and Deputy Ranking member of the Appointments Committee, had given 3,000 Ghana cedis (about (US$690) to each Minority member on the Committee.

Following rumours that the money was given by Mr Agyarko, who was being vetted for the position of Minister of Energy, Mr Ayariga claimed to have confronted Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak who told him that Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, First deputy Speaker and chairman of the Appointments Committee, gave him the money, with the explanation that it was from Mr Agyarko.

“Bribery allegation: Ayariga hot. Parliamentary leadership to meet him,” was the headline of the state-owned Graphic, which reported that the leadership of Parliament had taken steps to establish the veracity or otherwise of the allegation that each member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) was given 3,000 Ghana cedis bribe by Mr Agyarko to facilitate his vetting.

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, told the Daily Graphic that as a first step, the leadership of Parliament would meet with Mr Ayariga, MP for Bawku Central, to purge himself.

He said the meeting with Mr Ayariga was crucial because Mr Osei-Owusu and Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak have "vehemently denied" involvement in the alleged bribery scandal.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said if Mr Ayariga was unable to clear himself, his conduct would be referred to the Privileges Committee of Parliament.

The Graphic, in another story under the headline, “Three MPs petition Speaker over bribery allegation”, reported that three Minority MPs on the Appointments Committee of Parliament had written to the Speaker of Parliament, requesting thorough investigations into the allegation of bribery against members of the committee.

The MPs are Mr Mahama Ayariga, who first made the allegation, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and Mr Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini.

In a joint letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, the three MPs requested Parliament to initiate an internal investigation to ascertain the veracity of the matter.

“We request you to carry out an internal enquiry into the veracity of the claims made by us in the allegation of attempted bribery of the Minority members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament by the ministerial nominee,” it said.

Mr Osei-Owusu has welcomed full investigations by the leadership of Parliament into the allegation, saying they were crucial to establish the facts of the matter and restore the integrity of members of the committee in the eyes of Ghanaians.

Graphic also reported that a five-member in-house committee had been set up by Parliament to investigate the bribery allegation following the petition by the three opposition MPs.

It is chaired by former attorney general and MP for Essikado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey. The Committee has 30 days within which to present its report.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times, in a story with the headline, “Depoliticise bribery scandal – Ablakwa”, reported that Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa had advised that the bribery scandal be depoliticised.

“This is not a matter to be situated within the usual NDC (National Democratic Congress), NPP (New Patriotic Party) politics” he said, adding that politicising corruption was the reason why the country had not been successful in fighting the canker.

“When something is wrong, it is wrong. It doesn’t matter if it is NDC or NPP. I am not interested in the partisanship.”

Meanwhile, the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) Official, Mr Ghartey, has said a former Attorney-General should not chair parliament's ad-hoc committee on the alleged bribery scandal.

Executive Secretary of GACC, Beauty Emefa Nartey said Mr Ghartey could have been a member but not a chairman.

She said considering the fact that there had been an earlier allegation of bribery and corruption concerning parliament, this was an opportunity to "clear itself of the issue that people are accusing it of".

“Cameroon deny Ghana final berth” was the headline of the Graphic following the 2-0 defeat of Ghana by Cameroon at the semi-finals of the 2017 AFCON in Gabon on Thursday night.

The Graphic reported that Ghana’s quest to end a 35-year drought came crashing at Franceville on Thursday night as the Black Stars were devoured 2-0 by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to book their place in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

It said the Lions dominated the game and scored two important second half goals to repeat their 2008 AFCON semi-final victory over their old rivals and set a date with the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The defeat reduced Ghana’s campaign at the continental showpiece to a search for bronze when they take on the Stallions of Burkina Faso on Saturday.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 4Feb2017

04 february 2017 06:13:08

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