bagbin

Alban Bagbin

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli-Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, has been compelled by circumstances to dispute his own claims that MPs take bribe to articulate the views of some individuals and organisations on the Floor of Parliament.

Mr Bagbin, who was speaking at a two-day seminar in Koforidua to representatives of 40 civil and non-governmental organisations, seeking to influence policy by having laws passed or changing the laws thought to be inimical to national development was quoted as having said, ?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 is bribery,? he said.

But a day after the story came out, Mr Bagbin, who is a former Majority Leader put up a strong and spirited denial claiming he was misquoted.

Instead, Bagbin who spoke on various radio networks said he relied on circumstantial and anecdotal evidence, rather than personal proof in making those statements.

?As an individual I don?t have that evidence, it is just circumstantial by just looking at what is happening and what is being said but personally I don?t have that evidence,? he said during one radio interview.

He, however, blamed the vulnerability of MPs to taking bribes, on the lack of resources to support their work in view of the large amount of money that goes into their elections, coupled with pressure from their constituents.

This was after he came under attack and asked to back his claims with substantial evidence.

Even though most of his colleague MPs declined to comment on the allegation, a few denied the claims.

Salvos

First to fire the salvo was Minority Leader and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who said he was unaware of any instance in which an MP had taken a bribe, challenging Mr Bagbin to provide evidence to that effect.

The Minority Leader who spoke on various networks said, ?As far as I?m concerned, the issues that he (his colleague former Minority leader) has related to? to the best of my knowledge are untrue? since he could not relate and equate lobbying to bribery.

Having been Majority Leader for about eight years, he said some bribery issues might have been brought to Bagbin?s attention, insisting that if that be the case, he (Bagbin) should produce what he described as ?better and further particulars? to prove his claims.

As an institution that frowns on corruption, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said Parliament would not spare any effort to deal with MPs who were proven to have taken bribes.

But anti corruption campaigner and former Executive Secretary of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Daniel Batidam, who is currently with the African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (APNAC) also waded into the debate, saying any attempt by Bagbin or any individual to rationalise corruption among MPs would not suffice.
?So there can never be justification to use corrupt means of entering Parliament?we should have a system whereby people can be screened?to be sure that these are potential criminals,? he noted.

 By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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