Ghana Media Center for Social and Economic Justice is disappointed that Parliament has missed the opportunity to purge itself of the corruption perception it currently face.
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There have been several allegations of corruption leveled against Ghana’s Parliament in the past, of corruption, and of members who take bribe to do their normal work.
However, the bribery scandal that Parliament currently face has gained international attention, and we expected the house to have shown a high level commitment to the fight against corruption, by handing itself over to an independent non partisan body of enquiry to investigate the matter.
We do recognize that Parliament has locus to set up any committee to investigate matters that affect their work.
And we also do not have course to doubt the personal integrity of those Parliamentarians selected to be on the committee.
But we are also guided by the popular injunction that all things are lawful, but not all things are permissible. Parliament holds a moral duty to itself, to have taken steps to leave no doubt in the minds of the public, that the house can be trusted going forward.
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However, the issue, in our opinion, has assumed partisan dimension, and there are too many cross-cutting interests and potential conflicts of interest amongst the selected committee members.
Under the circumstance, any member who would have been selected from amongst Parliament will face the same credibility problem, because each one of them has a partisan interest, and each one of them has already taken a stand in the matter before the house.
For instance, Honorable Joe Ghartey, apart from being an NPP member of Parliament, is also a Ministerial nominee who has passed through the same committee that he is about to investigate.
Assuming without admitting that he also paid bribe, how do we expect him to unravel the truth in the matter before him?
In our view, what the Speaker has done can be likened to a group of thieves setting up a committee from within to investigate a robbery case that they themselves have carried out; the outcome will be the same, none of them will receive the appropriate punishment.
We recommend that, under the circumstance, although the committee has credibility issues, the Speaker should allow for a live coverage of the committee’s work.
In so doing the house could redeem its damaged image, and give the general public some confidence in the outcome of the committee’s work.
Ghana Media Center for Social and Economic Justice is an independent, non partisan Ghanaian based non-profit media organization dedicated to the promotion of free, fair, just, informed and developed individuals and society where governance institutions and their leaders are held accountable and responsible for their actions and inactions.
We achieve our aims by working with an extensive network of media, governance and environment practitioners and other experts who share our ideals. Our network of Journalists can be found in all ten regions of Ghana.
James Kofi Annan - (President) www.ghanamediacenter.org