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Parliament should purge itself of increasing bribery allegations – Constitutional lawyer

Ghana’s Parliament should take steps to purge itself of increasing bribery allegations, constitutional lawyer Nana Akwasi Awuah has counseled.

According to the legal practitioner, allegations of bribery against the second arm of government are worrying and if care is not taken, the august house will lose its essence and relevance.

Over the years, high profile members of the legislature, have in one way or the other, made damaging allegations of bribery and corruption against either the house as a whole or some individuals.

It will be recalled that Member of Parliament for Nadowli/Kaleo, the then Majority Leader Alban Bagbin, had accused some members who attended a two-day seminar organized by Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund at Koforidua, of taking bribe. His accusation at the time drew a lot of criticism and calls from the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) to initiate investigations into the claims against the MPs.

In the matter of Ghana Telecom sale during the erstwhile Kufuor administration, former MP for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa Paul Collins Appiah Ofori had also alleged that each legislator received $5000 bribe in order to approve the sale of the state asset to Vodafone Holding BV in 2008. This also drew some condemnations from the general public.

Fast forward 2017, the Bawku Central Member of Parliament Mahama Ayariga, alleged that then Energy Minister-designate Boakye Agyarko gave each minority on the parliament’s Appointments Committee 3000 cedis each to influence his approval after his vetting. But the money, Ayariga claimed, was rejected.

Mr. Agyarko together with persons whom Ayariga claimed were used as conduits for the bribe has denied the claim.

An ad hoc Committee was therefore constituted by the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, which looked into the allegations and found Mahama Ayariga to be in contempt of Parliament.

But constitutional lawyer Nana Akwasi Awuah said the allegations by Members of Parliament against Parliament are becoming one too many, a situation he said is not only weakening Parliament but also undermining its integrity. He noted that there are sizeable numbers of MPs who are appointed into ministerial position and some ended up becoming cabinet ministers, therefore asking “how will the public perceive same people who are being accused of taking bribe by themselves.”

Nana Akwasi Awuah argues that should the house fail to take steps to purge itself and regain its past glory, they would not be taken serious by the public.

“This should start the process to purge parliament, the leaders must take steps to ensure that. People are fast losing confidence in Parliament” he said on Onua Fm morning show ‘Yen Nsem Pa’.

By Bright Dzakah/Onua 95.1FM/3news.com

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