The Centre for Progressive Governance has mounted pressure on the chairman of the Appointments Committee of parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, to excuse himself from the vetting of ministerial nominees following allegations that he facilitated a bribery attempt by Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko for his nomination to be approved by the committee.
Although the chairperson has denied the bribery allegation and has hinted of a court action to clear his name, the group has demanded that Mr Osei-Owusu give up his role on the committee in order to purge it of the taint brought about bribery scandal.
Speaking to Class News, the Executive Secretary of the group, Sawadogo Mahmoud, said the chairman should step aside until investigations are concluded.
“This call has been necessitated by…all these allegations flying around that the chairman was a conduit for the bribery by one of the Minister-designate. If you listen to all the conversations making the rounds, it is perceived that even before this, people have been paying bribes to the Appointments Committee whether perceived or true. However, this bribery allegation has made it quite difficult for us as Ghanaians sitting back and watching this parliamentary committee do their work. When you see someone now after this, you will feel that this person might have taken a bribe or this person might have paid bribe. That obscenity is what we are talking about,” he stated.
“We feel … it is in the best interest of Ghanaians and himself (the chairman) to recuse himself from the committee so that the committee can go ahead and do its job whilst an investigation is going on in this matter. This we believe will clear the air. When cleared, he can come back and take over his chairmanship and continue the work. But as it stands, the integrity of the committee is tainted because the chairman himself is alleged to have been the conduit for which the bribe was paid.”
Meanwhile, three Minority MPs: Mahama Ayariga, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and Alhassan Suhuyini have petitioned Speaker of Parliament Mike Oquaye to probe the bribery allegation.