Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, has asked the Speaker of Parliament to forgive him after a Committee found him in contempt of Parliament.The Harvard-trained lawyer in a one-page letter read Friday on the floor of the House apologised for peddling a claim that was found to be false by the Joe Ghartey Committee that investigated the matter.
The MP had said minority members on Parliament’s Appointments Committee were each offered GHC3,000 to approve Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko whose nomination was under consideration.He told journalists the NDC MPs returned the money because they did not want to be bribed into doing something against their will.
They had initially opposed the Minister’s approval because of some comments he made during his vetting
First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu was mentioned as the one who handed the money to Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka to be given to the NDC MPs.But a committee formed by the House to probe the matter said there was no evidence to support Mr Ayariga’s claim.
Essikado-Ketan MP, Joe Ghartey who chaired the Committee said they established the MP peddled rumour to the media.
He also said: “there is no evidence that this Committee can rely on to conclude that First Deputy Speaker Joe Osei Owusu gave money to Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka.”Citing Article 112 of the 1992 Constitution as well as Order eight of Parliament’s Standing Orders, the Committee found the MP guilty of contempt.
It recommended to the Speaker, Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye to reprimand Mr Ayariga and demanded an apology from him.
Minutes after the report was read in Parliament, the MP rose to render an apology that was described by his colleagues as “shabby and disrespectful.” They entreated the Speaker to demand a formal apology from the Bawku MP.But pursuant to the Committee’s recommendation and repeated calls from his colleagues, Mr Ayariga has apologised for his claim that has disparaged the reputation of the second arm of government.
“I hereby render an unqualified apology to this Parliament,” he said.
Speaker Prof Ocquaye in his response accepted the apology, cautioning him similar behaviour in the future will not be treated lightly. “Go and sin no more.”