Ghana: Parliament to Set Up Committee to Investigate Claims in Anas Video

Kenyan referee Aden Marwa, left, who withdrew from the 2018 World Cup after he was filmed receiving a "gift" in an investigation by Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, bottom right.

PARLIAMENT is to constitute a special committee to investigate the allegations of bribery and corruption in the latest work of internationally acclaimed Ghanaian undercover journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

Though the minority caucus which pushed for the formation was ready with its membership and wanted ad hoc committee constituted at yesterday's sitting in Accra, the majority, led by Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, deferred the constitution to today for "broader consultations" to be done.

This was after the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, agreed in principle that the scandal merits a parliamentary probe and asked the leadership of both sides to name their chosen members of the proposed seven-member committee.

The investigative piece dubbed 'Number 12' and done in collaboration with global broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), has sent tongues wagging after it was shown to the public at a premiering in Accra on Wednesday June 6.

Apart from featuring dozens of football administrators and match officials determining outcomes of football matches even before they started at all levels of Ghana football, the two-hour secretly recorded documentary also captured the president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi using the name of President Akufo-Addo to negotiate mega road contracts with 'investors.'

Raising concerns about the video on the floor of Parliament, Bodi MP, Sampson Ahi said the scandal which has attracted global attention had done considerable damage to the image of Ghana and needs to be investigated by the House.

According to the Bodi lawmaker, "this is a national issue which parliament as an institution must show concern, and for that matter, Mr Speaker I want to suggest that you allow the committee on youth and sports to conduct an independent enquiry into those allegations and also to call on the GFA president to step aside as a matter of urgency."

Supporting the application by the Bodi representative, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka said "Parliament could be the neutral arbiter that could sit to investigate this to deal with the issues and possible change in legislation and other recommendations" to ensure that the matter didn't fizzle out in a month as other scandals that had rocked the country.

"By the inquisitorial powers conferred on Parliament by the Constitution and our Standing Orders, so far as a matter is in the public interest, Parliament can investigate" Speaker Mike Oquaye ruled, stressing that the House wields the power under article 109 of the 1992 Constitution to ensure professional bodies conducted their operations on democratic lines; a trait he said may be missing in the lexicon of the GFA.

After backing the call for the parliamentary probe, even before Speaker Mike Oquaye delivered his ruling giving the leaders the opportunity to nominate their members, the majority leader made a u-turn asking that more consultations be done.

Advancing his argument for a deferment of the constitution of the committee, the Asawase MP said a formal motion, admitted by the Speaker, needed to be moved before the committee was constituted; a position Speaker Mike Oquaye disagreed with.

In the view of the Speaker, once the issue was in the interest of the state, the motion could be moved on the floor ad hocly but the majority leader insisted further consultation was needed.

In a bid to push the formation of the committee, Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka moved the motion which was adopted by the House pending its composition today.

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