Parliament watchdog calls for probe into NLA bribery claims

Parliament has come under intense public backlash after it emerged that the Finance Committee of Parliament of took money from the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to deliberate on a lottery law.

Parliament has come under intense public backlash after it emerged that the Finance Committee of Parliament of took money from the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to deliberate on a lottery law.

Then Chairman of the Committee, James Avedze has denied any wrongdoing but the matter interest as more and more civil society groups call for a probe.

Executive Director of ACEPA, Dr Rasheed Draman, says any probe into the matter should not be limited to the NLA bribery scandal.

He told Accra-based Citi FM: “I think that the probe is in order but we must also widen the scope of that probe to look at why is that over the years Parliament has abdicated this responsibility of ensuring that it has enough resources to enable its committees to do their work effectively because that is the root cause.

“What we are seeing with regards to the Finance Committee is just a manifestation of symptom of that structural problem so we should investigate that as well because that is what will put a stop or find a solution to the problem.”

Last week, three anti-corruption civil groups; the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition have demanded an independent probe into the matter.

In a joint statement, the three anti-graft bodies said that the claims, if not investigated, will gradually ruin the reputation of parliament.

"This revelation, coming on the back of the unsatisfactory handling of Honourable Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central’s bribery allegation presents a further challenge to the already dented image of Parliament and growing eroding trust in politics and the political class in the Fourth Republic,” they noted in a statement.

They further argued that there should be “the setting up an independent body outside of Parliament possibly chaired by someone of the reputation of Mr. Emile Short, former Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) or someone of similar standing, to look at the alleged bribery case, to investigate this issue, review the payment practices in Parliament and make clear recommendations for regulating these processes.”

But the Director of Public Affairs at Parliament, Kate Addo, has indicated members of the Finance Committee who received money from the NLA to deliberate on a Lottery Law cannot be sanctioned.

She said said that members of the committee that were involved in the act belonged to the 6th parliament which ceased to function immediately the 7th parliament came into being on January 7, 2017.

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