The Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Constituency, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka has in a dramatic U-turn apologized for the unfounded bribery allegation leveled against a Justice of the Supreme Court.
The controversial National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP had alleged that a Justice of the Supreme Court tried to bribe a female colleague to influence her in the election of a Speaker of Parliament.
The Chief Whip of the NDC Caucus in Parliament had on January 10, 2021 revealed in an interview on JoyNews that the attempted bribe took place on the eve of the inauguration of the 8th Parliament.
But, weeks after making the allegation that dented the reputation and image of the judges of the apex court, the Asawase MP instead of having the “balls” to mention the name of the said judge is rather backtracking, retracting and apologizing for the blander.
He had in a statement issued over the weekend said: “I therefore wish to respectfully retract same and apologize for the harm done to the image and reputation of my Lord Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary as a whole.”
Muntaka explained: “admittedly, because I did not specifically name any judge, this may have had the effect of scandalizing the Judiciary in its entirety. This unintended consequence is deeply regretted.”
For this reason he further noted: “Based upon good counsel, I have also decided to let sleeping dogs lie and will consequently refrain from any further public commentary on the matter which, as I have indicated, was originally reported to me by a female colleague, Parliamentarian.”
The Asawase MP’s apology follows steps taken by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah to solicit assistance from the MP in getting to the root of the matter.
The Chief Justice per a statement signed by Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, Judicial Secretary on January 13, said the Judiciary has noted with grave concern the remarks of Muntaka and that the general public is assured that the Chief Justice considers the allegation of impropriety a matter of grave import to the integrity of the Judiciary.
“The Hon Chief Justice is therefore taking steps to solicit the assistance of Mohammed Muntaka MP, to establish the fact in order that the matter can be dealt with appropriately” it argued.
As though that was not enough, The Ghana Bar Association (GBA), in another statement, described Muntaka’s claim as unacceptable and called on him to either prove or retract his allegation.
“The GBA finds the comments totally unacceptable and hereby calls on the Honourable Mohammed- Mubarak Muntaka to substantiate the allegation or retract same and apologize to the Justices of the Supreme Court in particular and the judiciary in general.”
This is not the first time Muntaka or any member of the opposition NDC has made wild public allegations without providing evidence.
In December 2017, this same Muntaka made allegations of extortion against expatriates at the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards ceremony an empty claim which later came to be known as the “Cash For Seat” scandal.
Mubarak had claimed that the expatriates paid to sit close to the President Akufo-Addo, allegation organizers of the event flatly denied.
The Asawase MP also indicated that the fees charged at the event were not approved by Parliament, adding that the monies were also not accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds [IGF] of the Ministry’s accounts.
Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga in 2017 also made a false accusation against Former Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko of paying bribes in order to be approved by Minority members on the Appointment Committee of Parliament.
A Joe Ghartey committee constituted by the then Speaker Prof Mike Oquaye to investigate the allegations found nothing to incriminate the Energy Minister as well as two other members of the Appointment Committee, the chairman, Joe Osei Owusu and the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak.
The Committee reported that Ayariga peddled rumours and had no evidence to substantiate his claim of bribery and like Muntaka ,he also apologized to his colleagues
.Again, in 2014, current Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin accused MPs of taking bribes at a two-day seminar in Koforidua organized by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund.
Mr. Bagbin is 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”.