Ablakwa to testify at Bribery Committee
The Special Committee investigating the bribery scandal that has engulfed Parliament has adjourned sitting to Monday, February 20, in order to in order to invite the Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency; Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to testify.
The committee’s Chairman, Railways Development Minister, Joe Ghartey, explained that the break in the committee’s sitting was to accommodate Mr. Ablakwa’s request for the transcript and recording of the first sitting, where the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Parliament’s Appointment’s committee, Joe Osei-Owusu appeared.
Mr. Ablakwa made a request for an audio recording of the proceedings on Friday morning, and the committee has obliged the request.
“We have agreed to oblige that request. We are taking steps to give him a copy and a transcript of the proceedings of that day, and when he receives it, he will be in a position to come before us,” Mr. Ghartey said.
Mr. Osei-Owusu was the first witness before the committee as he was alleged to have attempted to bribe each of the Minority members on the Appointments Committee with GHc 3,000, said to have come from the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko.
Parliament formed the committee following allegations by the MP for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga that the Energy Minister, Mr Boakye Agyarko attempted bribing Minority members on the Appointments Committee with Gh¢3,000 each with the aim to influence his approval as Minister.
Mr Ayariga further claimed that the money was handed to the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka by the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Mr Joseph Osei Owusu for onward disbursement, a claim both have denied.
Mr Ayariga together with two of his colleagues, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Mr Alhassan Suhuyini subsequently petitioned the Speaker of Parliament to investigate the claims.
The ad-hoc committee is chaired by the MP for Essikado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey who is also a Minister in charge of Railways Development.
The four other members are Mr Ben Abdallah, Ms Ama Pomaa Boateng, Mr Magnus Kofi Amoate and Mr Benson Tongo Baba.
The terms of reference for the committee is to establish whether the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei Owusu took money from the Energy Minister, Mr Boakye Agyarko and gave it to the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka to the distributed to Members of the Appointments Committee.
It is also to establish whether there was an attempt to bribe Members of the Appointments Committee and to look into the merits of the complaints and assertions made by the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei Owusu about the matter.