By Hon. Daniel Dugan
Perhaps the vetting procedures of the Parliamentary Appointment Committee, which were rocked with most controversies, can be found in the 2017 version.
The first to roll on was the allegation that Mr Boakye Agyarko, the minister of energy and power had bribed the committee to make the members look with favor upon him.
However, as the days went by it looked more like a fabricated story to rock the new government at its foundation and make it confused and lack focus during the mandated four years.
Firstly, after every vetting, the committee takes a vote on whether to approve the nominee or not. So when was the bribery executed to have greased the palms of the parliamentarians? It certainly could not be before, because the agitated men and women of honour would have raise issues with the act during the vetting.
It certainly could not be after the vetting as well, because the decision was taken immediately after the vetting and nothing could be done to change that.
Secondly, Alhaji Fuseini (MP) revealed that allowances were paid every quarter, so why did the committee members believe an earlier story that their allowances were ready almost three months before schedule?
And ideally they signed before collecting the money so what was indicated on the paper which should have told them what they were signing for?
Thirdly, Mr Boakye Agyarko is a wise man and would not go to this length to jeopardize his reputation, especially when he knew he had at least 61% of the House on his side, if his case will be referred to the floor. So why would he spend so much money on something that would cost him nothing?
It is being alleged that a memo was submitted by the committee for payment of the allowances, but this can’t support the immediate release of funds.
Memos, we all know have to be worked on and it could take some time, more so, are we being told that the allowances which should be paid at the end of the quarter, are now to be paid weekly?
And this raises another issue here. If the expected allowance, playing an advocate here, is indeed GH¢3,000 a week then for a month of vetting, the committee members will take home
GH¢12,000 each. Is this realistic?
In all this if the members had assumed that the GH¢3,000 was for allowance, then does that mean they were to take that amount for duty performed and would it be for a month or a week?
Someone is spreading a story on social media which sought to indicate that the bribery took place.
The alleged author, Dzifa Gunu, even implicated an NPP member of parliament who wanted that ministerial position and went on to tell stories that did not rhyme with the earlier one.
Mahama Ayariga told Ghanaians that after receiving the money, he was told by Alhaji Muntaka that it was a bribe from Mr Agyarko.
However, Dzifa stated that it was Kennedy Agyapong who raised the issue to Ayariga, who quickly dug into the case and found out that it was indeed a bribe.
In other words, Dzifa is saying that Ayariga was first informed before he made his own investigation, whereas the MP told Ghanaians that he was informed that the money was a bribe, so he returned it and a few others followed suit.
So we have two contrasting statements. Dzifa, however, exposed the agenda behind the story, Latest Revelation. The detractors of the new government, who had vowed to make sure that H.E. Nana Addo knows no peace, suggested to him to show his will to fight corruption by asking Mr Agyarko to resign.
This honorable gentleman, who many knew had his life saved after he was wrongly shot and left to die by revolutionary forces, seemed to be targeted and for whatever reasons by the appointment committee.
Some members sought to find out whether he was truly a Ghanaian; whether he indeed worked for the Bank of New York; whether he was involved in a money laundering scandal among others.
And so in the end the allegation of bribery came up. Then we read of a senior journalist who claimed an NPP MP told him of the bribery scandal. But for the fact that he did not mention the name, it must be regarded as a lie.
Also at another interesting vetting process, the NDC side did all they could to extract withdrawal and apology from a nominee, Otiko Djaba, for describing the ex-president in words which amounted to gross insult.
Otiko stood her grounds and stressed emphasis, times without number that, she insulted no one and it was only a way of expressing a fact. The opposition NDC were not amused and kept insisting that she libeled the president and Otiko kept explaining that she was only calling the attention of the ex-president to his acts that put his own people to shame.
This case of insulting politicians has become the norm in Ghana now. The current president went through an avalanche of insults to his personal self, after he became perhaps the most attacked politician ever to walk this side of the planet earth.
Sitting on the Committee is a member who swore that then candidate Nana Addo could never be president because of his height.
He was labeled a drug addict and a man of violence, especially after he commended the youth of Atiwa for standing up to their rights, by using bare hands to drive off armed thugs. His use of the words ‘All-Die-Be-Die’, according to his detractors, explains his violent nature.
So if Otiko Djaba was asked to apologize for insulting the ex-president, then can’t the opposition side of Parliament do the right thing and render an unconditional apology on behalf of all Ghanaians who insulted H.E. Nana Addo? After all, they fall within their ranks.
Why can’t a bill be passed in Parliament to institute a law which will punish any person who libels a politician? In the UK, Phil Woolas, who won his seat, had the result nullified because he had lied against a candidate who was also fighting for the seat.
Phil was thrown out of Parliament and thrown out of his party because he did something that if he was in Ghana, it would have been accepted as the status quo.
We need such laws here so that we all know our limitations when addressing someone, especially practicing politicians.
Then the issue of her national service status came up. She voluntarily owned up that she never did national service and all hell broke loose.
Strangely, but in parliament, we had an occasion when David Amankwa, a chop bar operator who became the NDC MP for Nkawkaw, who probably did not do his national service, was passed by the parliamentary appointment committee to became a deputy minister in 1993.
Qualification for appointment as a minister is clearly defined in Article 78; which is well spelt out in Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution.
And clearly there was no mention of satisfying the conditions in ACT 426.now as we all know, the 1992 Constitution supersedes all laws, unless otherwise stated or determined by the Supreme Court; so the nomination of Otiko Afisa Djaba should be approved by Parliament.