A decision by the Parliamentary Select Committee of Finance to accept an offer of GH¢150,000 from the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) whilst considering the amendment of the National Lottery Act, 2006 (Act 722) has raised eyebrows.
According to a Joy FM report, the Legal Advisor to the NLA, David Lamptey, in separate e-mails – addressed to the then immediate past Director-General, Brigadier General Martin Ahiaglo, in August 2016, requested the approval of a total sum GH¢150,000 to ‘push’ the bill for consideration by parliamentarians.
The said e-mail reads: “I refer to the above and specifically to the directions received from the Board on the above at its meeting held this morning and respectfully request your approval of an additional GHS100,000 (ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND GHANA CEDIS) to “push” the Select Committee on Finance.
This additional request has become necessary in the light of the fact that Parliament will go on recess on Friday, 5th August 2016 and NLA must ensure that any required facilitation is implemented to make way for the passing of the Bill into Law prior to recess. Your kind approval, Sir. Kind Regards and good afternoon, David.”
The counsel followed up later with the second letter, which also read: “Good Morning, following discussion with chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance, I respectfully request your approval and/or authorization for an amount in the sum of GH¢50,000 to push the bill for consideration by Parliament, prior to recess, kind regards, David.”
Though Mr Lamptey has admitted during an interview with the radio station that GH¢150,000 was spent on the parliamentarians, he insisted that it was not a bribe. According to the Legal Advisor, the money was spent on accommodation and other resources when the NLA organised a workshop on amendments to the new lottery bill at the Royal Senchi Hotel before it was passed into law.
“We had to pay for the members of Parliament to be accommodated,” Mr. Lamptey told the radio station yesterday, adding, “Any payment made was to provide the committee the necessary resources they needed to be able to travel to the venue.”
The former Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, in an interview with the same radio station, confessed that the Finance Committee he chaired did receive money from officials of the National Lotteries Authority. According to him, the NLA gave them GH¢50,000, “but when we looked at the provisions, we realised that the amount was not sufficient, so they promised to bring another GH¢50,000.”
He, therefore, denied receiving GH¢150,000 as suggested in the email communication Lamptey had with former Managing Director (MD). Klutse also contradicted the earlier claim by the NLA that the money was used to procure the necessary logistics for the MPs. According to Klutse, who is now the Deputy Minority Leader, the money was given to them as per diem/sitting allowance.
When contacted, the head of Public Affairs in Parliament, Kate Addo, contended that parliamentarians are not supposed to take money from any institution to facilitate the passage of a law. “Parliamentarians are paid for the work they do, therefore to accept an offer before working on a bill to be passed into law is considered as sacrilege.”
News Desk Report