Former Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, has admitted his committee received money from officials of the National Lottery Authority prior to deliberate on the amendment of the National Lottery Act, 2006 (Act 722).
He said the Authority first presented 50,000 cedis to the Committee “but when we looked at the provisions, we realised that the amount was not sufficient so they promised to bring another 50,000 cedis.”
Legal Advisor to the NLA, David Lamptey in separate e-mails – addressed to the then Director-General of the NLA, Brigadier General Martin Ahiaglo (Retired) in August 2016 – which have been intercepted by Joy FM, requested the approval of a total sum GHC150,000 presumably to “push the bill for the consideration” by parliamentarians.
According to Mr. Lamptey, the money was spent on accommodation and other resources when the NLA organized a workshop on amendments to the new lottery bill at the Royal Senchi Hotel before it was passed into law.
“We had to pay for the members of parliament to be accommodated,” Mr. Lamptey told host of the Super Morning Show on Joy FM in an interview. He added: “Any payment made was to provide the committee the necessary resources they needed to be able to travel to the venue”.
He, however, denied the move was an attempt on the part of the NLA to bribe members of the Committee to hurry the bill through the legislature.
But Chairman of the Finance Committee at the time, James Klutse Avedzi confessed to taking the money from the NLA but said they received only a GHC100,000 from the NLA.
He said the money was given to the committee members as per diem/sitting allowance contradicting the claim by the NLA that it was used to pay for accommodation for the MPs.
Position of Parliament
The decision to receive the cash has also raised questions about the propriety of Parliament receiving money for work, for which the MPs already draw salaries from the state.
Head of Public Affairs at Parliament, Kate Addo said, parliamentarians are not supposed to take money from any institution to facilitate the passage of a law.