Whiles addressing critical issues relating to Ghana’s past, present and future, the former AngloGold Ashanti president, hardly mentioned names of people except to make clear references in rare instances.
He, however, mentioned the name of the “number three” person on Ghana’s political hierarchy, the Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin.
He did not mention him when he made a scathing remark on the Executive arm of government looming large over the legislative – which Bagbin leads – and judiciary in his “tripod” analogy nor in his concerns about the military invasion of Parliament that preceded Bagbin’s election as speaker.
The name of the speaker came up in the area of corruption and successive government’s lukewarm attitude to fighting the canker. The current speaker’s claim was in March when he was serving as the then-Majority Leader.
What Sir Sam Jonah said about Bagbin:
“But corruption pervades all aspects of our governance system. Few years ago, a prominent member of parliament said publicly that parliamentarians take bribes to pass bills that favour their sponsors.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if a fish comes out from [the] water to tell us that the crocodile has one eye, who are we to doubt it? Incidentally, the said MP is now the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Alban Bagbin.
“Our governments pay lip service to anti-corruption but do little substantially to cure the canker. Which of the major corruption issues has been conclusively dealt with since the fourth Republic began? There have been major corruption scandals and none has been conclusively dealt with.”
What Bagbin said back in March 2014
The then-Majority Leader Bagbin was speaking at a two-day seminar in Koforidua to representatives of 40 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which had sought to influence policy by having laws passed or changing the laws thought to be inimical to national development.
“The reality is that MPs are Ghanaians and there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor and try to articulate the views of their sponsors.
“This is because in Ghana we have not developed what we call lobbying. There are rules; there are ethics regarding lobbying and we in Ghana think that lobbying is taking money, giving it to MPs and writing pieces for them to go articulate on the floor. That is bribery,” he said.
Two days later, Bagbin in an interview with then Radio Gold’s Alhassan Suhuyini insisted that some MPs took bribes and that if some of his colleagues were aggrieved, they could refer him to any committee and he was ready to submit evidence to that effect.
“My brother, my nature is not to lie. That’s not part of my nature and so I will not only appear, I’ll also come with what I believe is the evidence. I am not just going to appear and try and run away from it,” he said.
Bagbin cleared by Parliamentary Committee in October 2014
Months after the allegation and after Bagbin, the then-Majority Leader appeared before a special committee, he was cleared of wrongdoing over the bribery claims.
A news report back then said the leader was cleared by the committee even though Parliament had at the time not been informed formally of the findings that the Majority leader did nothing wrong.
The then Deputy Minority leader, Dominic Nitiwul, said so far as the House is concerned Bagbin’s allegation is no more an issue.
“He met each person [Parliamentarian] one-on-one and he met us as a group to explain what he meant and I think we understood the angle he came from,” he told a Joy FM reporter.
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