POLITICS

Pratt Rips Into Joe Ghartey Committee’s “Dissatisfactory” Report

Kwesi Pratt Jr

Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has described as unsatisfactory the report by the Joe Ghartey Committee on the bribery scandal which hit Parliament a couple of months ago.

The Joe Ghartey Committee’s report concluded that Hon Mahama Ayariga’s bribery allegations against the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, were unfounded and baseless.

The report, which was laid before Parliament on Wednesday, recommended that Mr. Ayariga be reprimanded by the Speaker of the House in accordance with Section 35 of the Parliament Act 1965 (Act 300).

The report recommended that Mr. Ayariga apologizes to the House to purge him of contempt.

Addressing the issue on Peace FM‘s Kokrokoo, Mr. Pratt was dissatisfied with the Committee’s work, in that he believes they hurriedly probed the case.

According to him, the Committee has not convinced Ghanaians and believes their work sends everyone back to “square one“, because nothing has been established yet about the bribery scandal.

He asked the Committee if per their findings, they came across any CCTV footage that was claimed by MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, to show some persons exchanging monies in Parliament.

To him, the footage should be able to expose those complicit in the scandal.

He wondered why the Committee failed to show the CCTV footage to the public to ascertain the truth in the case.

Although the Committee’s report indicated that they looked at the footage but for security reasons couldn’t show it publicly, they however forwarded transcripts of the evidence they found on the footage to the Speaker of Parliament.

But the Senior Journalist insisted that the committee could have done a better job by being transparent with the general public.

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Nobody is asking for the workings of the security of Parliament. Nobody is asking for that. If they put the technicalities of how the CCTV operates and so on, it will compromise (security). All people want to see is the footage. Was money handed over on camera or was money not handed over as shown on camera?”

He further questioned the Committee on why it failed to probe other witnesses to the case, referring to Hon. Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, Sampson Ahi and Alhassan Suhuyini – all members of Parliament.

Mr. Pratt also noted that the Committee had indicated in its report that it used strict standards in criminal cases as part of its work to find the truth but queried why they refused to allow room from examinations-in-Chief and cross examinations.

To him, the Committee’s work wasn’t satisfactory because “the Committee told us that they’re in a hurry and because they’re in a haste to finish the case, they’re not going to call witnesses. There will be no cross examinations and Examinations-In-Chief. So, they should bring written memorandum….As at the time the Committee was asking for a written memorandum, the reason was haste.

“If you’re using strict standards in criminal cases, written memorandum is not enough because you need to have Examinations-In-Chief and you need to have cross examinations.”

He also sought answers on how the Committee could establish contempt of Parliament against Hon. Ayariga when its setup was to be fact-finding one.

In his view, it would have been appropriate if the verdict of contempt was established by the Privileges Committee of the House.

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How come that a fact-finding committee made a recommendation that Mahama Ayariga has committed contempt of Parliament and also suggested punitive action against him? How is that possible?” he quizzed.

Background

Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, who doubles as a member of the Parliamentary Appointments Committee (PAC), was heard on an Accra-based radio station ‘Radio Gold’ accusing the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko for allegedly offering the PAC bribes.

He alleged that the Energy Minister perhaps wanted to induce them with money, hence giving the Parliamentarians GHC 30000 each after his vetting before the Committee.

He further cited the Chairman of the PAC, Joe Osei-Owusu and Minority Chief Whip Mubarak Muntaka, also a member on the Committee, of serving as a conduit for the bribe offering.

Though the Minority Chief Whip and PAC Chairman both denied the allegations, the MP together with other Parliamentarians – Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Sampson Ahi, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye – attested to the allegation.

Story by Peace FM

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