I did not take NLA cash; Finance Committee member pleads

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In a new twist to the National Lotteries Authority cash-for-law-amendment scandal with Parliament, a member of the Finance Committee in the last Parliament has denied ever receiving any cash.

Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah said he neither signed nor received any amount from the booty paid by the NLA to push through the National Lottery Act, 2006 (Act 722).

Members of the Finance Committee of the last Parliament were said to have been given monies by the NLA to push through the amendments of the Law.

Joy FM’s Super Morning host Kojo Yankson intercepted an email conversation in which the head of Legal at NLA, David Lamptey was asking for an amount of 150,000 cedis from the then Director General Brigadier General Martin Ahiaglo (Rtd) to be paid to the MPs.

In that mail, Mr Lamptey said the amount requested for was to be given to the MPs to push through the bill.

When Yankson confronted Mr Lamptey about the content of the mail, he said the amount requested for, was used in paying for the accommodation and dinner of the MPs.

He could not however, clarify what he meant by paying the MPs to push through the bill.

Some of the members of the Finance Committee in the last Parliament have confirmed receiving the money.

Chairman of the Committee who was then in the Majority, James Avedzi said they received only Ȼ100,000.

He, however, said the money was given to the committee members as per diem/sitting allowance contradicting the claim by the NLA Legal head that it was used to pay for accommodation for the MPs.

Another member of the committee Benjamin Kpodo has also admitted receiving the cash. He could not immediately tell how much he received except to say it is normal practice for MPs to receive cash when they are taken away from their families.

According to him they spent three nights away from their families and were entitled to take that cash.

The Director of Public Affairs at Parliament, Kate Addo told Joy News it is “not necessarily okay” for MPs to be taking such monies.

While conceding that MPs may have taken such monies in the past, she said the House is seeking to prevent a situation where the ones paying the piper will call the tune.

In the midst of admission by some MPs and quasi condemnation of the act by the Director of Public Affairs, one of the MPs has denied taking any money.

Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo he did not take any such money.

Asked if he was part of the members who met to consider the NLA bill, the MP said he cannot readily recall because members of the committee have met under similar circumstances and considered many other bills one of which may be the NLA bill.

He was quick to add that it is not the right practice for MPs to be collecting allowances from organisations in order for them to consider and pass bills.

He challenged the members who claimed to have received the cash on behalf of the committee to provide the appropriate vouchers, signatures and documentation so that it will be clear who received the cash and who did not.