Even as he is being accused of blowing the lid off the Boakye Agyarko bribery scandal, self-acclaimed financier of the governing New Patriotic Party, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, is also pointing accusing fingers at some kingpins of the party for plotting the scandal because they missed out on the Energy Minister post.
Known for his no–holds–barred effusions, the Assin Central MP revealed that some NPP big shots whose eyes were on the Energy Minister portfolio engineered the bribery allegation to get Mr Agyarko fired by President Akufo-Addo so their favourite could be appointed.
Speaking on Adom Tv’s Badwam program last week, the acerbic tongue legislator also alleged some members of the minority NDC who despise Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu and wants his leadership marred, conspired with some NPP members to make up the allegation.
In a gasping attempt to ward off claims by his co-panelist, Alhaji Bature Iddrisu, that he was neck-deep in the bribery allegation plot, Hon Agyapong vowed that attempts to smear Mr Agyarko will not see the light of day.
He rebuffed Alhaji Bature’s daring claim that he (Hon. Agyapong) “knows something about the bribery”, insisting; “My name seems to pop up in every issue in this country; I don’t understand why people want to drag my name into this bribery brouhaha. I am not a member of the Appointments Committee, what interest do I have in this to give out bribe.
“Anyone with information claiming that I have offered bribe inside my Rolls Royce car should come out with that information. If Okudzeto, Ayariga and Suhuyini have evidence to that effect, they should come out, they should name and shame. The problem I have with the media is you always rely on social media for information, you will always get it wrong if you go that way.”
Hon Agyapong’s revelation was in response to a publication by The aL-hAJJ that the bribery scandal was engineered by NPP bigwigs who were lobbying for their favourite to be appointed Minister of Energy but had their hopes dashed following the nomination of Mr Agyarko.
The paper reported that the NPP members against Mr Agyarko’s nomination and subsequent appointment decided to kick the Energy Minister out of office by blowing the lid on the alleged bribe money to members of the minority MPs on the Appointment Committee of Parliament.
This was later confirmed by NDC MP for North Tongu and member of the committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who, together with his colleague Minority MP for Tamale North, Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini, corroborated Hon Ayariga’s bribery allegation.
“I can tell you on authority that there were some NPP MPs who helped us blow the alarm, and gave us the hint about where the money is coming from,” the former deputy Minister of Education in the Mahama administration noted.
The Energy Minister was alleged to have bribed minority MPs on the committee with GHC3000 each. The supposed bribe was said to have been channeled through Chairman of the Committee, Joe Osei-Wusu, and Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka.
However, Mr Agyarko, Hon. Joe Osei-Wusu and Hon. Muntaka Mubarak have all denied the allegation. This has led to the Speaker of Parliament forming a five member committee to investigate the matter following a petition by Hon Ayariga and his two colleagues. The committee is expected to begin sittings tomorrow.
But some Ghanaians, including Kennedy Agyapong, have criticized Parliament’s decision to investigate itself. Those who hold this view argue that the Speaker should have referred the matter to an independent body outside parliament.
“This time around an independent body should investigate Parliament; we shouldn’t leave this matter with the Speaker to settle. Once Parliament is investigating itself, we might not get the full brief; an independent body like CHRAJ must come in and do the investigations. We’ve had enough allegations of bribery about Parliament, let’s have another body go into the matter and bring finality to the issue,” Hon Kennedy Agyapong argued.
He added: “The Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Hon. Joe Ghartey himself is a ministerial nominee who will also later appear before the same Appointment Committee which has been accused of bribery to be vetted so I have a problem with his choice.”
In the midst of the criticisms, others have also called for live telecast of proceedings of the committee. One such person is Director of Communications of NPP, Nana Akomea, who said “The issue involves parliament itself and senior members of parliament. Parliament itself is investigating the matter and so the public interest will be served if the proceedings are done in public – that is, televised.
“I will wish that parliament itself will insist [on that] because of the problem of conflict of interest. It is not an external body that is investigating parliament; it is an internal parliamentary body investigating the conduct of Members of Parliament. So, to improve credibility and the public accountability, they should have these proceedings televised.”
In response to these concerns, the committee, Daily Graphic reported, has decided to open up the enquiry to the public.
Meanwhile, acting General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu, has said that President Akufo-Addo will not hesitate to sack Mr Agyarko if it turns out that he indeed attempted to bribe the minority MPs. “If there is evidence to prove the allegation against Mr Agyarko, Nana Addo will not hesitate to sack him, he is capable of doing that.