MPs bribery scandal: I don’t trust Ayariga enough to discuss anything with him – Osei-Owusu

Chairman of Parliament’s Appointment Committee, Joe Osei-Owusu said he did not have any interactions with Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga after he leveled bribery allegations against him and Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak.

According to him, he didn’t think it was prudent to speak to the MP who is also a member of the Appointment Committee.

“I wouldn’t trust him to do such a thing [talk to him] after he had made those allegations and had gone on air to repeat them.

“I think it would be suicidal to get into any one-on-one meeting with him. It would be very dangerous,” he said.

Mr Osei-Owusu is the first witness to be called after the Speaker of Parliament constituted a Committee to investigate an alleged bribery allegation that hit the House last month during the vetting of Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko.

The Chairman who doubles as first deputy speaker in Parliament is alleged to have given some monies to Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak to be distributed to minority members of the committee.

The said money was to influence a decision on the energy minister nominee. But Mr Osei-Owusu has denied the allegations.

At the first hearing of the investigative committee on Wednesday, the Appointment Committee Chairman said he never discussed the issue with Mr Ayariga.

For him, once the committee was set to investigate the issue, he thought he would let the Committee handle it.

He, however, indicated that he raised the issue at a conclave meeting “where the leadership was for the matter to be resolved before we returned to the chamber.”

Until that was done, Mr Osei-Owusu said they sat on the Appointment Committee together, but had no discussions on the allegation.

He also said his intention was to proceed to court, and any discussions with the member would have been inappropriate.

But Mr Osei-Owusu said the Minority Chief Whip came and apologized to him for being dragged into the issue.

“The evening that the information came to us, I did not confront Hon. Muntaka, however, the following morning when Joy Fm called me and I spoke to the matter, they called hon. Muntaka who also spoke on the issue…

“At lunch time, he came to me and said sorry, ‘I think you don’t deserve this’…and apologised that I had been brought into the centre of this” he reported Muntaka as saying.

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