The delay in the release of the Joe Ghartey Committee Report on the bribery allegation against some members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) is said to have been occasioned by the decision of the committee to allow for more evidence to be provided to assist in the unvestigation.
The one-month period given to the committee by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, to submit its report on the investigation is over and the delay is creating anxiety among the public.
When contacted on the issue yesterday, the First Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Mr Mathew Nyindam, told the Daily Graphic that members of the committee had told the leadership of Parliament that some members of the ACP had claimed that they had some evidence that they wanted to present to the committee.
He said the committee had, therefore, asked the members to provide the evidence to assist in the investigation.
Mr Nyindam said the decision of the committee to allow the members to provide the evidence was to give a fair hearing to all concerned and ensure the credibility of its report.
He said as soon as the evidence was provided, the committee would work on the report and present it to Parliament.
He, therefore, asked the public to be patient with the committee, as it was working to present a credible report.
The members of the ACP who are to provide the evidence are the MP for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and the MP for Tamale North, Mr Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini.
At the last sitting of the ACP, Mr Ablakwa, who was supported by his counsel, Dr Dominic Ayine, sought to give further evidence into the allegation, after reacting to some statements made against him by Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, but the committee did not grant him that leave.
It asked him to come by a memorandum.
Mr Suhuyini is said to have written to the committee to allow him to give evidence in the case.
The Joe Ghartey committee
Parliament set up the five-member ad hoc committee to investigate the allegation that each member of the ACP was given GH¢3,000 bribe by the then Minister designate for Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, to facilitate his approval.
The committee is chaired by the MP for Esikado/Ketan (NPP) and former Second Deputy Speaker, Mr Joe Ghartey, with Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, the MP for Offinso South (NPP); Ms Ama Pomaa Boateng, the MP for Juaben (NPP); Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey, the MP for Yilo Krobo (NDC), and Mr Benson Tongo Baba, the MP for Talensi (NDC), as the members.
The committee is charged to investigate the allegation that the Chairman of the ACP, Mr Osei-Owusu, had taken money from Mr Agyarko and given same to the Minority Chief Whip and Deputy Ranking member on the ACP, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarak, to be given to Minority members on the committee.
It is to enquire whether attempts had been made to bribe members of the ACP and also look into any related matters.
It was given one month to submit its report to Parliament.
Nothing to be hidden
Mr Nyindam, who is the MP for Kpandai, said the committee did not have any intention to hide anything from the public, saying: “Nothing is to be hidden.”
He said it was for that reason that the sitting of the committee was done in public for the media to capture proceedings live.
He said once the report was presented to Parliament, the document would become the property of the House, after which the Speaker would then show the way to go.
Genesis of the allegation
In a radio interview, Mr Mahama Ayariga had alleged that Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak had given each member of the Minority on the ACP GH¢3,000.
He said following rumours that the money was brought by Mr Agyarko, he confronted Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak about the source and Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak told him that it was Mr Osei-Owusu who gave it to him, with the explanation that the money was from Mr Agyarko.
Mr Ayariga said following that revelation, he, together with his colleagues in the Minority, returned the money because initially they had thought it was a sitting allowance.
But Mr Osei-Owusu denied taking any money from Mr Agyarko, while Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak also denied giving any money to Mr Ayariga.
Mr Agyarko also refuted the allegation that he had given money to members of the ACP and threatened legal action against Mr Ayariga.