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MPs To Study Ghartey Committee Report For Debate On Thursday   
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Parliament on Wednesday could not debate to approve the Joe Ghartey Investigative Committee report into allegations of bribery against some members of the Appointment’s Committee.

They postponed the debate to thursday after the Chair of the committee laid it before the house to allow members ample time to read and study the 50-page report.

    Although the public is yet to know what the findings of the report and its recommendations were, members of the committee say nothing will be shelved.

    The Joe Ghartey committee was set up after Mr Mahama Ayarga, MP for Bawku Central had made an accusation that Mr Joe Osei- Owusu, First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee had received money from Mr Boakye Agyarko, then Energy Minister Designate.

    He alleged that each of the Minority members on the Appointments Committee was to be given GH¢3,000.00 to approve the nominee by consensus.

    The approval for both Agyarko and the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo had both been inconclusive by a consensual decision by the committee following controversial comments they made during the vetting.

    Mr Ayariga alleged on a private radio station in Accra that the money was given to the Minority Chief Whip Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak to be distributed to the members of the Minority.

    The Bawku Central Lawmaker said the Minority MPs on the committee initially accepted the monies, as they thought that it was catering for their sitting allowance, but when they got to know it was  bribe money to influence the approval of the then Minister Designate, they returned it.

    However, the allegation by Mr Ayariga, was not accepted by the people mentioned, as they vehemently denied the allegations.

    At a plenary meeting of the House, Mr Osei-Owusu brought the attention of the Speaker to the allegation and threatened to sue and redeem his image.

    As the denials raged on, Mr Ayariga insisted that even though he had been told that the money was to bribe the members of the committee, he did not directly receive the monies from Mr Osei-Owusu and Mr Boakye Agyarko.

He however maintained the money was paid by his chief whip Muntaka Mubarak.

     Mr Alhassan Suhuyini, MP for Tamale North Constituency, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, subsequently petitioned the Speaker Prof Mike Ocquaye to investigate the matter.

    The Speaker then constituted the Joe Ghartey Committee to investigate the matter.

    Members of the Committee were; Mr Ben Abdallah, MP for Offinso South; Ms Ama Pomaah Boateng, MP for Juaben; Mr Benson Tongo Baba, MP for Talensi; and Mr Magnus Kofi Amoateng, MP for Yilo Krobo.

    They held a public hearing and listened to key players in the bribery scandal- Joe Osei Owusu, Boakye Agyarko, Muntaka Mubarak, Mahama Ayariga and Okudzeto Ablakwa.

    After the hearing and cross examinations of key witnesses, the committee compiled the report, now presented to the House to be debated on.

The motion on the report is expected to be moved on Thursday.

    In a related development, the MPs have lamented over poor working conditions and the absence of facilities needed to enhance their work.

    They enumerated some of the challenges they encounter on daily basis as; the absence of highly trained and skilled security personnel which puts their lives in jeopardy.

    Contributing to a debate on the floor of the house, the MPs also decried the absence of modern day medical equipment at the clinic of the House.

    Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu urged the Marshal’s Department of the House to enhance the security of the legislators.

Meanwhile, the House is expected to be granted a one-week extension to enable it complete unfinished businesses.
Source: GNA

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