The report of the ad hoc committee that investigated the bribery allegation made against the chairman and some members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) was laid in Parliament yesterday.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Joe Ghartey, laid the 50-page report but the scheduled presentation of the findings was postponed to today.
The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, told the House that due to the voluminous nature of the report, it was important for it to be distributed to Members of Parliament (MPs) to have a day to peruse the document to be able to make contributions today.
“We don’t want to rush members. So it has been laid. It is going to be distributed, members will have a day to peruse the document. I don’t want us to hurry through so that people will say that we could not even provide members with the opportunity to go through the document,” he said.
Mr Ghartey later told journalists that the committee only laid the report and indicated that it would be presented to Parliament first thing in the morning today.
He declined to give any highlights of the report and insisted that everything would be known during the presentation.
A few of the MPs whom the Daily Graphic contacted said they had not received copies of the report.
But a source close to the committee gave the Daily Graphic a hint that the Chairman of the ACP, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, who was accused of taking money from the then Minister designate for Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, with the aim of influencing members of the committee, had been exonerated.
The source could not, however, say what the recommendations of the committee were.
The African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) has observed that whatever the findings and recommendation of the Joe Ghartey Committee, it would be a make or break for Parliament.
According to the centre’s Executive Director, Dr Rasheed Draman, if the allegations were confirmed, it would dent the image of Parliament and if they turned out to be false, the whistleblowers would be in trouble for dragging the image of Parliament into disrepute.
He told Joy FM that the effect of the report would hang on the neck of the current Parliament.
According to him, it would be impossible to wish away the report in the name of lack of interest from the public as, in recent times, the public had taken a very keen interest in the way the country should be governed.
“Ghanaians are not taking corruption lightly any longer, “he added.
The Joe Ghartey Committee
Parliament set up the five-member ad hoc committee on January 31, 2017 to investigate the allegation that each member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament was given GH¢3,000 bribe by Mr Agyarko to facilitate his approval.
The committee was chaired by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Esikado/Ketan and former Second Deputy Speaker, Mr Ghartey, with Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, MP for Offinso South (NPP); Ms Ama Pomaa Boateng, MP for Juaben (NPP); the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Yilo Krobo, Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey, and Mr Benson Tongo Baba, MP for Talensi (NDC), as members.
The terms of reference for the committee were to investigate the allegation that the Chairman of the ACP, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, took money from the then Minister designate for Energy, Mr Agyarko, and gave same to the Minority Chief Whip and Deputy Ranking member on the committee, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarak, to be given to the Minority members on the committee.