I won’t recuse myself – Joe Ghartey tells critics as ‘bribery’ committee begins sitting

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The five-member ad hoc committee was originally scheduled to sit on Monday, February 13 (Photo: Catherine Frimpongmaa)[/caption] Chairman of the five-member committee set up by Parliament to investigate the bribery allegations levelled against some members of the Appointments Committee says he has all the legal backing to work. Member of Parliament for Essikado Ketan Joe Ghartey’s remit to chair the investigative committee has been questioned in some quarters. The critics argued that he was one of the ministerial nominees expected to appear before the Committee, prior to the formation of the ad hoc committee, and so might not be independent enough to investigate it. But at the Committee’s inaugural sitting on Wednesday, February 15, Mr Ghartey, who has since appeared before the Appointments Committee and  been sworn in as a minister, said he can still be part of any committee set up by Parliament since he is a Member. He explained that Parliament has every right to set up an ad hoc committee at any time to consider issues that may not fall within the jurisdiction of any of the standing or select committees. “The only way we can stop our work is when Parliament itself decides to stop us,” he stressed. The Ghartey Committee was scheduled to meet for the first time on Monday, February 13 but had to be postponed as a result of the absence of Mahama Ayariga, one of the petitioners. READ: Parliament sets up committee to probe bribery scandal Membership of the committee was also reconstituted after Assin North MP Abena Durowaa Mensah replaced Ama Pomaa Boateng (Juaben), who is on an official assignment out of the country. Ben Abdallah Banda (Offinso South), Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo) and Benson Tongo Baba (Talensi) are the other members. All the members endorsed their mandate and pledged to be transparent. “So the question of jurisdiction is unanimously agreed upon,” Mr Ghartey stressed, promising to unravel the circumstances behind the allegations. “I will therefore not recuse myself,” he ended his opening remarks. First to appear before the committee was Joseph Osei-Owusu, who is the Chairman of the Appointments Committee. He is said to have received the bribe from Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko, then Minister-designate for Energy, and shared it to the Minority members through Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka. By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana ]]>