Mr Speaker, I rise, with your indulgence, probably, before I proceed, to draw your attention to the fact that, while the Statement by the Hon First Deputy Speaker and Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee urged you to grant him immunity to proceed to Court to redeem his image, subsequent thereupon, the Hon Member has also asked for the referral of the matter to the Privileges Committee in a complaint.
Mr Speaker, let me also draw your attention to the fact that the Hon Mahama Ayariga, supported by the Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and the Hon Alhasan Suhuyini Sayibu, wrote formally to you on 30th January, 2017 requesting an internal inquiry into this matter.
Mr Speaker, whatever it is, the bribery scandal or allegation means a lot to this House -- to the reputation and the dignity of this House and to the integrity of the Hon Members of this House.
Mr Speaker, the Ghanaian public as I have observed, is very angry and would
want nothing but that we establish the truth or otherwise of this allegation.
It is one Hon Member's word against the other. Coincidentally, the Hon First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee also doubles as the Chairman of the Privileges Committee. The principles of law -- even though naturally, the Privileges Committee would have a Vice Chairman -- a referral to that Committee where he would preside over the matter itself would lead to questions.
Mr Speaker, the Ghanaian public and the world at large, expect nothing but for us to establish and share with them the truth of a full-scale investigation to establish who is truthful.
I am minded by a quote that,God cannot be for and against the same matter at the same time. God would stand by those who are truthful and righteous and those who are morally right against wrong. [Hear! Hear!] It must be established.
Mr Speaker, I have heard the Hon First Deputy Speaker -- and as the Ranking Member on the Appointments Committee, we are particularly concerned. We need to redeem personal integrities, secure personal reputations and restore the dignity and reputation of this House. We must do so only after a careful and thorough investigation into the matter.
We, on this side of the House, have no objection to you proceeding further. Suffice it to add that, I would wish that, given that the three other Hon Colleagues have requested an internal scrutiny -- While I have no control over what your judgment would be, I would request that, you refer this to a special Ad hoc Committee.
May I refer you to Order 191 of our Standing Orders. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I beg to read:
“The House may at any time by motion appoint Special or Ad Hoc Committee to investigate any matter of public importance; to consider any Bill that does not come under the jurisdiction of any of the Standing or Select Committee.”
As a result of the reason I gave, that the Chairman of the Appointments Committee and the one making the complaint, supported by the Hon Member, in order to redeem his image, chairs the Appointments Committee.
Mr Speaker, we are gradually eroding and betraying public trust in some of the things that we do and say. We need to end this image problem. I would, again, request under Standing Order 191, that we have a committee.
In times past, the public felt uneasy that many a time, even when referrals are made to the Privileges Committee, the details are not shared with them. We would be guided by your good example. We would want to get to the bottom of this particular matter. Who has done what? Who has engaged in what transaction to achieve what?
Mr Speaker, may I further request you to refer this matter to a special Ad hoc Committee. Should they work and we find their work unsatisfactory, together with the Ghanaian public, we may consider other possible and appropriate legal remedies to look into the matter. What is important to us, is to establish the truth or otherwise of the allegations and for them to establish otherwise.
I accordingly submit that, Mr Speaker, you refer this matter without prejudice, to ensure that the truth is established. Accordingly, they would invite witnesses
to testify. Then the Committee would submit a report to you and whatever the sanctions, this House should not fail the Ghanaian public in exacting what is right from whoever is right or wrong.
I am unable, at this juncture, to know who is standing where God stands; where the truth stands.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.