Ayariga's "nonchalant" apology to Speaker causes stir in Parliament

March 31, 2017
Source: Eugene Davis/thebftonline.com/Ghana

Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Constituency,who was visibly unhappy with the Joe Ghartey Committee report "nonchalantly"apologised to the Speaker of Parliament, Rt.Hon.Prof.Aaron Mike Oquaye.

It was the manner in which the apology was rendered that set the House into chaotic scenes with both set of members from the minority and majority at near blows, after the Speaker had deferred his ruling to tomorrow,Friday(31st March,2017).

Hon.Ayariga on Thursday evening, practically rejected recommendations of the five member Joe Ghartey committee that investigated bribery allegations against Members of the Appointments Committee and Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko.

The Bawku Central MP, who made the bribery claims, was found guilty of contempt of Parliament, following investigations by the committee which concluded that “Mr. Mahama Ayariga is in Contempt of Parliament on the strength of Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution, Section 32 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300) and Orders 28 and 30 (2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament.”

The committee, after ruling out Mr. Ayariga’s bribery allegation, asked him to render an unqualified apology to purge himself of contempt.

But Mr. Ayariga who appeared unhappy with the work of the committee, reluctantly rendered the apology, saying : “Mr. Speaker, if you say I should apologize, I have apologized.”

Prior to this apology, he said the committee’s recommendations were problematic, especially when it failed to conduct due diligence by cross examining the “other sides” to arrive at a fair conclusion.

This is regardless of the fact that Mr. Ayariga and his other colleagues who made the allegation, failed to provide any concrete evidence to support their claims.

He also questioned the powers of the committee to find him guilty of contempt.

“If you conclude that you want to use the criminal standards then you might as well have during the proceedings, used the criminal process, which is cross examining the other sides so that you can come to the conclusion that will enable you to exact criminal functions but you did not do that,” he queried.

The Committee also cleared Mr. Boakye Agyarko, the Energy Minister alleged to have paid the bribe of any wrongdoing. He was discharged together with Chairman of the Appointments Committee Joe Osei-Wusu and Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak.

The Speaker is expected to deliver his ruling tomorrow [Friday], on the recommendations of the committee.

He would decide whether or not Mr. Ayariga’s apology, which has already been condemned by some members would be accepted and the way forward.

The Bawku MP alleged that Boakye Agyarko, attempted to bribe the 10 minority members on the Appointments Committee with GHc 3,000 each to ensure the approval of his nomination as the Energy Minister.