The Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has indicated he partly agrees with Mr Martin Amidu’s assessment of the fifth and sixth Parliaments of the Fourth Republic especially on the issue of due diligence on loan agreements.
However, on the allegations of bribe taking, he said he could not vouch for Members and would therefore ask that Mr Amidu backs his claims with evidence.
Such evidence, the Majority Leader said would help shape Parliament going forward since Members found culpable would be removed.
“We are ready to hear him [Amidu] so as to help improve our governance architecture,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who served as Minority Leader representing the NPP side in the past two Parliaments said in a radio interview on Accra based Neat FM Wednesday morning.
He was responding to allegations by Mr Amidu that the past two Parliaments lacked integrity and was fraught with corrupt activities by way of bowing to the urges of the Executive.
Responding, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is the Member representing Suame in Kumasi and now the Majority Leader said when Mr Alban Bagbin, then Leader of the government side for instance was reported by the Daily Graphic newspaper in March 2014 as having stated that Parliamentarians take bribe and he was questioned in Parliament, he said he was misquoted.
“So we will prefer Mr Amidu to come forward with some evidence and we will carry it from there.”
On the allegation of extortion of monies from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) before budget approvals, the Majority Leader explained because Parliament in the past did not have enough conference facilities at Parliament House for committee sittings, MDA’s had to bear the cost of alternate facilities at hotels for vetting and approving their budgets.
He said ever since the ‘Job 600’ facility was completed, Parliament now has the requisite conference facilities for such purposes and committees no longer hold meetings outside and therefore MDAs no longer have to pay for such costs.
However, he said he agreed with Mr Amidu that those practices could have compromised some Parliamentarians.
Bribes for agreement
He indicated he was not sure of the premise on which Mr Amidu said Parliamentarians took bribes to approve loan agreements.
However with respect to the AMERI deal and others such as the Ridge Hospital project, he said it would be recalled that the then Minority in Parliament vehemently opposed them, indicating that the projects had been overpriced but the then Majority side used their numbers to bulldoze their way through.
He mentioned the Ghana - Burkina Faso Embassy fence wall and the Merchant Bank sale to Fortiz as some examples and said there were a number of loan agreements which were handled in a manner that did not allow Parliament to do due diligence.
Asked if Parliament would summon Mr Amidu to the Privileges Committee considering that those two Parliaments which he spoke about have been dissolved, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said they may not do that but they will plead with him to furnish Parliament with his evidence to enable them “fish out the bad ones.”
I would want to think that Mr Amidu wishes that the right things were done and so even though the issues were about the past Parliaments, he could still bring the evidence and we can deal with such Members so that the new Parliament could boast of integrity, he added.
Listen to Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu’s interview with Neat FM here