Acting Director of Public Affairs at Parliament Kate Addo says the legislature is keen on preventing interest groups from sponsoring and facilitating bills in Parliament.
For Parliament to remain independent, the principle of he who pays the piper calls the tune cannot be allowed to fester, Addo posited.
She was responding to accusations that members of the Finance Committee of Parliament received a whopping 150,000 cedis from the National Lotteries Authority to “push” through a bill.
Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host Kojo Yankson has intercepted a mail sent by the Legal Adviser to the then Director General of the NLA Brigadier General Martin Ahiaglo (Rtd) in which a request of a sum of Ȼ150,000 was made ostensibly to “push” MPs to consider the amendment of the National Lottery Act, 2006 (Act 722).
When he was confronted, the Legal Advisor David Lamptey admitted that the money was requested but denied it was used to bribe the MPs.
According to him the money went into paying hotel bills and food at the Royal Senchi Hotel where the MPs were camped for the purpose of scrutinizing the bill.
When Kojo Yankson pulled out the intercepted mail in which he was asking for the money to “push” the MPs to consider the bill the lawyer refused to comment further.
The MPs have since admitted taking at least 100,000 cedis “allowance” from NLA but denied the money was to bribe them.
A member of the Committee Benjamin Kpodo in a feisty defence of the receipt of the money said the NLA cannot “ostracize” them (MPs) for three nights away from the families and not be prepared to pay an allowance.
“It is standard practice across the public sector,” Kpodo said.
He cannot remember how much he received for the three nights but said the NLA had to incur some costs for camping them for that long and away from their families.
For an institution that has for over a period been embroiled in issues of bribery and corruption, the latest scandal may be a dent on the reputation of the institution.
Speaking to the matter Kate Addo told Joy FM’s Evans Mensah no person or institution is mandated to facilitate the work of Parliamentarians who are scrutinizing bills Parliament as an institution facilitates its own processes.
She was however quick to add that in some instances MDAs have facilitated such meetings of MPs but even that “it is not necessarily okay” for “night allowances” to be given to the MPs.