Pratt, Opanyin Agyekum Call For Independent Inquiry Into Babgin’s “Bribery” Claims

Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., wants a body independent of Parliament to conduct investigations into allegations by a former Majority Leader that Members of Parliament in the country are bribe takers. Hon. Alban Bagbin, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli/Kaleo, is reported to have said at a two-day seminar in Koforidua organised by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, that his colleagues in the House take bribe before articulating their views or undertake any project for an individual or organization. He posited that this "unacceptable" practice has lingered on for a long time because of the lack of adequate laid-down rules on lobbying in the nation. "…the reality is that MPs are Ghanaians and there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor and try to articulate the views of their sponsors…This is because in Ghana we have not developed what we call lobbying. There are rules; there are ethics regarding lobbying and we in Ghana think that lobbying is taking money, giving it to MPs and writing pieces for them to go articulate on the floor. That is bribery," Alban Bagbin said. Speaking on Peace FM's "Kokrokoo", Kwesi Pratt feared the allegations may have dire consequences on the integrity of the House, particularly if the practice has been institutionalized. Inferring from the claims by Hon. Bagbin, Kwesi Pratt bemoaned the culture where government institutions are said to be part of the bribery saga. He was also disgusted by the act of MPs spooning from State coffers inappropriately. He expressed no surprise over the allegations but held that an independent body should get to the bottom of the case to ascertain the truth in the disclosure made by Hon. Bagbin. He views were re-echoed by Prof Kofi Agyekum, Head of the Linguistics Department of the University of Ghana. Articulating his views on the same platform, the University Lecturer believed the allegation casts a slur on the image of the House and therefore needed to be investigated, albeit by an independent body.