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Mahama Ayariga; Alhaji Muntanka and the Bribery Allegation

If you seek to only rely on the words of the principal actors in this whole bribery allegation to draw your conclusion, then, respectfully, you shall be wrong after all.

Many like me have and continue to work with Parliament on development related issues, especially, the workings and oversight function of the legislature. And same within the development community can attest to the fact that ‘outrageous’ sitting allowances and in some cases unreasonable payments have been the order of the day in Ghana’s recent Parliament. The non-payment of which, in some cases, stalls the work of the House. This is an institutional sub culture that inures to the benefit of many within the House. Indeed, this reached an alarming proportion such that some progressive (critical mass) members of the House have shown serious concern. Talk of PC Appiah-Ofori, Alban Bagbin, Martin Amidu, Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, et al.

The allegation of bribery most often becomes a difficult thing to prove, especially, when one of the alleged actors, either the giver or the receiver, denies the act. When one connects the dots carefully in the ongoing bribery allegation, one would come to no other conclusion than the fact that money was given. The excuse, that, Mahama Ayariga concocted this in order to equalize the corruption tag unfortunately placed on John Mahama is the lamest and weakest I have ever heard. Without admitting it is the case, is this the first time, John Mahama is being alleged to be corrupt? Why would it take a Member of Parliament in the caliber of Mahama Ayariga to falsify or baselessly impugn criminality to the reputation of his colleague MP (Boakye Agyarko) in order to equalize the alleged tag on John Mahama as is being suggested? Are we saying Mahama Ayariga is bereft of the legal implication of maliciously impugning a criminal label on the reputation of his colleague MP, Boakye Agyarko? This is extremely incredible. Very weak.

According to Mahama Ayariga, he received the money from the leadership of the minority, specifically, through Alhaji Muntanka (MP). It is intriguing as to why whether or not Ayariga informed the leadership of the Minority on the committtee on his decison to go public on the bribery issue before doing same is not out on the public plane. I believe there should be more that meets the eye then we are hearing.

In anycase,why should it take over 48 hours for the minority leadership, there again, Alhaji Muntanka (MP) to speak on the matter finally? Why was there a conspicuous silence on the part of Muntanka (MP) and the Minority Leader on this issue? And what would have been the dire implication should Alhaji Muntanka confirm the receipt of the money and the subsequent transfer to the minority MP’s? Muntanka would obviously not transfer the money without the knowledge of the purpose of same. He should be aware of the reason for the money. And, this would be the point of his culpability. And so, what would be the safest thing for him to do in this circumstance?

Consequently, the choice was between (1) denying the onward transfer of the money to his minority colleagues on the committee thereby salvaging himself from any form of culpability while protecting the ‘reputation’ and sub culture of parliament viz-a-viz (2) corroborating the position of Mahama Ayariga however bad that affects his (Muntanka) image for allowing himself to be the conduit; and ceasing the golden opportunity to present a united front on the integrity of the minority caucus and their stance against unproductive acts like bribery. Unfortunately for the minority caucus and the NDC, Muntanka chose the former.

Alhaji Muntanka is most reasonably and highly likely to chose the former due to the fact that the matter touches on him, the minority leader Haruna Iddrisu and by extension the leadership of the minority caucus. With the assertion that, the African is notoriously religious, I believe, anybody would go to the zenith and to any length to canvass support from the ever merciful and slow-to-anger God (Allah) in order to purportedly prove ones ‘innocence’ in the affairs of earthly engagements. This really means nothing to me. It would be very disastrous to his image should he admit receiving the money with knowledge of the purpose for which it was given and subsequent transfer to the minority members on the committee since he is still nursing and healing his scandalous past at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It is not comfortable to be tagged and continuously so in the web of scandals. It becomes a very embarrassing deal. The only sensible move for him on this game of chess is to deny.

The move of denial does not only emanate from the conviction of Muntanka alone but I believe the leadership of the committee. With the ever dwindling image of the legislature and the public’s unfortunate perception of MP’s and the institution in general, the last thing the leadership of the committee will do is to allow this to gain some grounds and momentum. The obvious choice will be to protect the institutional culture in the House.

Bribery and corruption is pervasive everywhere not excluding the House of Ghana’s Parliament. Indeed, sometime past, Raymond Atuguba raised the red alert on the invasive acts of corruption within the Judiciary. He was bastadised by the hierarchy of the judiciary and the lawyers at the bench with only a few critical mass within same institution supporting him, albeit, furtively. It was only a matter of time that the whole Judiciary was brought to a terrific quake after the revelation by the investigative journalist, Anas. As for the executive, it is very much a public knowledge. I am very much convinced that within a matter of time, when the dust settles, the facts of the matter shall lie bare for all to see.

To those arguing that, the issue could rather be a case of leadership struggle in the minority, I dare say, granted it is even the case; it does not in any way take away the veracity of Mahama Ayariga’s claim. It beats my imagination for one to aver that due to the fight for leadership in the minority, Mahama Ayariga and his group will baselessly impugn criminal motives on the leadership of the minority knowing very well the repercussion of same granted proven to be baseless. It’s senseless. Rather, to ground their reasons for a change in the minority leadership granted it is their objective; it would be to a certain extent reasonable to rather make claims that are truthful and grounded on strong basis with incontrovertible evidence. This I believe is what Mahama Ayariga attempted to do albeit on a very lonely path and rejection by his own. At least, he fearlessly pointed out who received the money and gave same to him and other colleagues on the minority side of the committee.

It’s just a matter of time. One thing is certain. Those threatening to go to court will never go to court. Especially, as Mahama Ayariga is still determined to remain on and prove his stance and invite witnesses to prove same.

*Nii Abbey*

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