by Isaac Essel

February 17, 2017

Ablakwa’s request forces ‘bribery’ committee to suspend sitting

The ad hoc committee set up by Parliament to investigate a bribery allegation involving some members of the Appointments Committee, was forced to suspend sitting on Friday to meet the requests of the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

Mr. Ablakwa has, through his lawyers, requested to appear before the committee after the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei Owusu, made certain claims against him when he appeared before the committee.

The North Tongu MP is also demanding that the committee provide him with a copy of the proceedings in their first sitting on Tuesday with Mr. Osei Owusu.

The Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Joe Ghartey announced today that the committee has obliged to the MP’s requests.

He suspended sitting and announced that they will resume on Monday, February 20, 2017.

He subsequently ordered the clerk of parliament to serve notice to all persons who are supposed to appear before the committee.

The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga had on several platforms alleged that the Minister of Energy Boakye Agyarko attempted to bribe some members of the Appointments Committee to approve his nomination after a rancorous vetting.

The allegation was supported by two MPs – Okudzeto Ablakwa and MP for Tamale North Alhassan Suhuyini -, but Mr. Joe Osei Owusu and Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mohammed who were mentioned in the bribery allegation have flatly denied it.

On the committee’s first sitting, Mr. Osei Owusu claimed Mr. Ablakwa had confessed that the allegation was false and meant to equalize corruption allegations made against former President Mahama.

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Read: Okudzeto confessed that bribery allegation was cooked – Joe Owusu tells committee
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After Tuesday’s sitting, Joe Ghartey announced that only four witnesses would be called excluding Mr. Ablakwa and Suhuyini. The four are Joe Osei Owusu, Mahama Ayariga, Muntaka Mubarak, and Boakye Agyarko.

Mr. Ablakwa who claimed he was asked to standby, asked his lawyers, Ayine and Felli, to formally write to the committee requesting that he is invited.

“Since our client was not given an opportunity to cross examine Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu on this unsubstantiated piece of evidence, it would surely be in accord with the rules of natural justice that our client be heard in his own defence before your Committee,” the letter said in part.

Magnus Kofi Amoatey, MP for Yilo Krobo, a member of the committee who read the letter in a live-telecast sitting said the letter “may not be necessary if he (Ablakwa) had drawn close to the committee” and made a case for him to give evidence. The committee would have “naturally” given him the chance, he said.

“We are going to give him the opportunity to appear before the committee,” he said, which was later confirmed by the chairman of the committee.

By Isaac Essel |3news.com|Ghana

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