In his evidence, Hon Boakye Agyarko stated, among other things, as follows:
Mr Chairman, what I would add is only to state for the records that at no point from my vetting did I feel that the confirmation of my nomination was at risk. I therefore, had no motive whatsoever to engage in influencing anybody.
On the matter of the constitutional requirement, I believe myself to be qualified. On the second matter of my vetting, respectfully, I do not think I performed poorly. On the third matter of committee decision, I was convinced that with the ratio of 16:10 majority, my party had the numbers to pass me.
And even if it came to the plenary and push came to shove, we could ride roughshod over everybody else to confirm my nomination. So, I had no motive whatsoever to influence or attempt to influence anybody with regard to my confirmation.
This Committee accepts this evidence from Hon Boakye Agyarko. What is his motive for paying a bribe? What evidence is there to establish a motive? No reasonable person will seek to induce people to achieve an end he will achieve in any event without the inducement.
According to the evidence before the Committee, agreed to by all the witnesses of the Committee, Hon Boagye Agyarko came to the Speaker's Lobby, to the Conclave, and resolved the differences with the Minority, who then agreed to support his nomination.
Indeed, Hon Mahama Ayariga as well as other witnesses made the point that the only matter that influenced their mind in changing their decision regarding the
nomination of Hon Boakye Agyarko, was the fact that he answered the queries they had raised to their satisfaction.
In any event, if the Minority had refused to support the Majority to approve the nominee, it would not have impeded the nominee from receiving approval. There are several examples of nominees for Ministerial appointments who have not received unanimous support, but rather support from the Majority.
Furthermore, the Committee is at a loss why when the opportunity arose to confront this matter of alleged bribery forcefully; it was turned into a laughing matter at the Conclave.
Also when the matter was raised by the Hon Joseph Osei-Owusu, when he was presenting the Report of the Committee, none of the Committee members found it fit or necessary to comment on the matter. Even if they did not catch the Speaker's eye, they could have communicated it through the Minority Leader who is also a member of the Appointments Committee.
Related to this issue or term of reference is the question, whether GH¢3,000.00 was paid by the Minority Chief Whip, to Minority members on the Appointments Committee. The evidence whether money was paid at all by Hon Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka is not clear. While Hon Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka swears by the Holy Qur'an that he did not pay any money, Hon Mahama Ayariga also swears by the Holy Qur'an that he received money.
There is also no evidence as stated earlier that even if the money was given to the Hon Members as a bribe, this bribe came from Hon Boakye Agyarko or Hon
Joseph Osei- Owusu. We regret that the existence of the GH¢3,000.00 remains a mystery and so does the question of who gave it to who, to be given to who, or if there was any money at all. We cannot make a finding of fact based on rumours.
The multiplicity of rumours does not and cannot by itself crystallise into a fact. The fact that it is a fact that there is a rumour does not by itself transform the rumour into a fact.
Examination of CCTV Footage of Friday 27th January, 2017
The Committee considered the request by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa in his Memorandum to examine the footage of the CCTV footage of Friday, 27th January, 2017 on the 8th Floor of the Job 600 building between the hours of 11.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. According to Mr Ablakwa, an examination of the footage would show him returning the envelope containing the money he had received to the Office of the Minority Chief Whip, located on the 8th Floor of the Job 600 building.
The Committee examined the footage and called three witnesses; the acting Marshall, the Director of ICT and an ICT officer. The evidence of the three witnesses was taken in private sittings. This is because their evidence included the workings of CCTV surveillance in Parliament. Their evidence did not influence the Committee to change its decision relating to the second term of reference.
The Committee has given the transcript of the evidence to the Speaker. This is because this evidence in the public domain will compromise the security of Parliament since it relates to and will reveal the workings of the CCTV surveillance in Parliament.
Regarding the request to invite Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye who allegedly had evidence relating to the matter, the Committee believes that if Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, who is a member of the Appointments Committee, had any information to assist the Committee he could have submitted a Written Memorandum.
Indeed, the Committee also observed that the Appointments Committee does not have the authority to approve the nomination of persons to be appointed as Ministers. The approval of nominees to be Ministers is the sole preserve of Parliament at plenary, albeit on the recommendation of the Appointments Committee.
However, it is trite knowledge that the plenary is not bound by the recommendation of any Committee of Parliament, including the Appointments Committee.
On the basis of the above, the Committee finds that there was no evidence of an attempt to bribe members of the Appointments Committee. Once again the Committee uses all the tests relating to standard of proof, but arrives at the same conclusion.
The last Term of Reference for the Committee is to:
Look into the remit of complaints and assertions made by the First Deputy Speaker about the matter.
The First Deputy Speaker, Hon Joseph Osei-Owusu in his Statement to Parliament on 31st January, 2017 concluded as follows:
Mr Speaker, I have a dilemma. My fervent heart's desire is to go to civil court to reclaim my integrity. I am, however, aware of the challenges one has to battle
with in any litigation involving a Sitting Member of Parliament. But Mr Speaker, you have the power to permit service of court processes on a Sitting Member of Parliament through your Office. I crave your indulgence to assist me to ventilate my grievance in court.
After dealing with the first two Terms of Reference, this is the only outstanding matter. The frustration he expresses with regard to commencing civil proceedings is based on articles 117 and 118 of the 1992 Constitution. Article 117 provides as follows:
“Civil or criminal process coming from any court or place out of Parliament shall not be served on, or executed in relation to, the Speaker or a member or the Clerk to Parliament while he is on his way to, attending at or returning from, any proceedings of Parliament.”
Article 118 (2) also provides that --
“The certificate of the Speaker that a Member or Clerk is attending the proceedings of Parliament is conclusive evidence of attendance at Parliament.”
It is because of these constitutional injunctions that the First Deputy Speaker is seeking leave of the Speaker to serve processes on a Sitting Member of Parliament.
The powers and privileges of Parliament emanate from the historical conflict between the Crown and the representatives of the people in the formative years of Parliament in the United Kingdom. The privileges that were developed were to protect the Commons from the excesses of the Crown.
Thus, at the commencement of every Parliament in the United Kingdom, it has been the custom for the Speaker, in the name, and on behalf of the Commons, to
lay claim by humble petition to their ancient and undoubted rights and privileges, particularly to freedom of speech in debate, freedom from arrest, freedom of access to Her Majesty whenever the occasion shall require; and that the most favourable construction should be placed upon their proceedings.
Even though the allegations made are defamatory without proof, since the matters that were raised have been addressed by processes within Parliament, we do not recommend that the Speaker gives the First Deputy Speaker leave to serve a process on a Sitting Member of Parliament.
After this process by Parliament of setting up a Special Committee to investigate this matter, we are of the view that to take this matter to Court will be to undermine the dignity of Parliament. The Courts have not hesitated to say that Parliament is master of its own procedures and arguably proceedings.
We therefore, resist the temptation to look into the remit of complaints and assertions made by the First Deputy Speaker about the matter any further than has been done above subject to the recommendations below we urge the House to join us to say like the Hymnist that the distant scene one step enough for us.
Contempt of Parliament
According to Erskine May
“The acceptance by a Member ... of a bribe to influence him in his conduct as a Member, or of any fee, compensation or reward in connection with the promotion of or opposition to any bill, resolution, matter or thing submitted or intended to be submitted to either House, or to a committee, is contempt.”
Any person who is found to have offered such a corrupt consideration is also in contempt. Erskine May further states that:
“A transaction of this character is both a gross affront to the dignity of the House concerned and an attempt to pervert the parliamentary process implicit in Members' free discharge of their duties to the House and to the electorate.”
Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution provides as follows:
“An act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impedes a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duties, or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce that result, is contempt of Parliament.”
Section 33 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300) also provides as follows:
Defamation of Assembly
It is a contempt of Parliament for a person to make a statement or otherwise publish a matter which falsely or scandalously defames Parliament or the Speaker, a Member or an officer in that capacity, or which contains a gross or scandalous misrepresentation of any proceedings of Parliament.
In Ghana, among the many acts that constitute breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament are Orders 30 (g) and (k) of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana, which states that “misconduct or corruption in the execution of official duties by Members or officers of Parliament” and “attempts by improper or corrupt means to influence Members or
officers in their parliamentary duties” respectively constitute contempt of Parliament.
Sanctions for Contempt of Parliament
Punishment for Members found guilty of contempt of Parliament and breach of privilege has been recognised as a way the House can purge its Members of misconduct and abuse of privilege as well as restore the image and sanctity of Parliament. Various sanction regimes exist to punish a Member whose conduct has been found to be contemptuous of the very institution which grants him the privileges he enjoys.
In this regard, the Committee had recourse to the provisions of the Constitution, the Parliament Act 1965 (Act 300) and the Standing Orders of the House, which provide for the requisite sanctions as applicable to Members as follows:
Standing Orders 102 (2) and (3) provide as follows:
102(2) Where the Committee of Privileges reports to the House that the statement made by the member is defamatory of any person, the Member who made the statement shall, within seven days after that report, render an apology at the bar of the House, the terms of which shall be approved by the Committee of Privileges and communicated to the person who has been defamed.
(3) Where a Member refuses to render an apology in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Order, Mr Speaker shall suspend that Member for the duration of the Session and a Member so suspended shall lose his