It has emerged that, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka and Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase in the Ashanti Region, craftily selected the two MPs on his side, who sat on the Joe Ghartey Committee, which investigated the bribery allegation of which he was a principal witness.
As it turned out, the committee unanimously declared him, Joe Osei-Owusu and Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko innocent, while the whistleblower, Mahama Ayariga, was rather pronounced guilty of contempt of parliament and is being pushed to render an unqualified apology to the House.
Among the two National Democratic Congress (NDC) members selected was Magnus Kofi Amoateng MP for Yilo Krobo in the Eastern Region and Benson Tongo Baba alias “B.T Baba” MP for Talensi in the Upper East Region.
What is interesting about Magnus Kofi Amoateng, is that he hails from the same area as Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko.
Mr. Agyarko’s mother – Teacher Jane Ladze Padi is from Krobo-Odumase in the Eastern Region.
He was born to Kwasi Agyarko, a merchant from Jamase in the Ashanti Region. He lived and worked in Kumasi, where he got into trouble with the PNDC government many times.
Reports from the Minority NDC MPs are that, Magnus Kofi Amoateng, was cleverly picked by the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka to protect his interest and that of his kinsman, Boakye Agyarko.
Indeed, ahead of the investigations, a group of people from the Krobo area of the Eastern Region, had taken on the NDC, accusing it of frustrating their colleagues who had been named as minister in the Akufo-Addo government.
They had on TV and other media platforms, mentioned Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection in addition to Boakye Agyarko as Krobos whose ministerial appointments the NDC was frustrating during the vetting.
Magnus Kofi Amoateng, therefore, sat on the Joe Ghartey Committee with his people heavily breathing on him and keenly watching which direction he would sway, he has demonstrated his commitment to protect his kinsman by being antagonistic towards Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who had key evidence to established the truth bribe was offered to okay the nomination of Mr. Agyarko despite issues with the nomination before the Parliamentary Appointment Committee.
In his memorandum submitted to the Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the North Tongu MP, asked that a video tape from a CCTV footage dated Friday, January 27, 2017, be sought from Parliament to confirm how some two MPs separately returned two white envelopes to the Minority Chief Whip, Mubarack Muntaka, containing GH¢3, 000 bribe.
The last to appear before the committee was Mr. Okudzato Ablakwa, who wasn’t part of the principal witnesses, but was later allowed following his request to the committee to clarify and deny allegation leveled against him by the chairman of the Appointment Committee, Mr. Osei Owusu.
Before Mr. Ablakwa appeared, a journalist turned politician, Alhassan Suhuyini, also wrote to the Committee to be permitted to appear before it with his evidence.
The North Tongu MP, who appeared on Monday, February 20, 2017 with his lawyer, Dominic Ayine, had after debunking claims by chair of the Appointment Committee, wanted to speak to other matters concerning the issue, but he was stopped from giving additional oral evidence, and asked to put it in writing to the Committee.
According to the Chairman, Joe Ghartey, per the rules of the House, Mr. Okudzeto, who was not originally part of the witnesses to be heard orally, was only given the chance to appear before the Committee because he requested to be a witness.
He said, the proper thing for Mr. Okudzeto to do per their procedure, was to submit any further evidence aside what he read before the committee by memoranda.
He reminded him to submit the memoranda to the Committee on time, since they will soon be presenting their report to Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Coalition for Defence of Equal Citizenship(CODEC) has urged the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga to proceed to court to purge himself of charges of contempt likely to be made against him by the state.
In a reaction Saturday, Ayariga said he will hold himself in abeyance pending the ruling of the Speaker on the matter.
“When you go before a lower court, and it takes a decision, if the judge evaluates the evidence and says I’ve come to this conclusion but says I will determine the ruling next week, so come next week and come and hear the sentence, you have to wait next week before you decide whether you have to appeal or not to appeal. So while Speaker did not conclude that day but said he will rule on it, I have to wait for the Speaker’s ruling and then the issue of whether the legal challenge to the process or some of the processes will be effected, will then be decided on. So at this stage strictly speaking we all have to wait. ”
Ali Dawud, Director of Operations (CODEC) in an interview with Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM said the opague report churned out by the Joe Ghartey committee is disappointing and leaves much to be desired, hence Ayariga must defend himself in court.
“If this were to be a civil issue, we can even institute an action to protect the interest of the constitution on behalf of the people of Ghana, but this is purely criminal issue-Contempt, and when it comes to criminal issues the accused person ought to fight for his rights. Nobody can do that for him. We would have wished we do that for him, but we are barred from doing so because it is a criminal matter.
“His apology will expose him to face criminal action which can be taken on behalf of the state by the Attorney General(AG), pursuant to Article 123 of the 1992 constitution because contempt is a semi-criminal offence. So if you have lied in parliament the state has the power to press criminal charges against you and he can risk losing his seat.
Meanwhile he didn’t peddle untruth. The committee fell short of finding the fact so why should Ayariga, a volunteer of information, turn out to be a convict.”