The Chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Communications, Mr Kennedy Agyapong and the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George have explained the cause of their disagreement at Tuesday’s meeting with the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).
The two Members of Parliament at a media briefing denied suggestions that they had a near physical confrontation at the meeting which discussed GIBA’s concerns with the Digitial Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) deal between Ghana and StarTimes.
They rather accused the Member of Parliament for Kunbungu in the Northern Region, Ras Mubarak of creating a wrong impression that their disagreement led to a “physical confrontation”.
According to Mr Agyapong for instance, he was furious that even though members of the committee, had agreed on Tuesday that, nobody should go public with information ahead of their meeting with GIBA on Thursday, Mr Sam George had flouted and went on an IMANI Africa platform, to discuss the issues of the DTT deal.
Showing his lighter side, Mr Agyapong who is the Member of Parliament for Assin Central in the Central Region said: “I hear Honourable [Ras] Mubarak saying it was physical, no, no, it wasn’t physical.”
“He [George] is here, you can ask him. I am a black belt [holder], if it was physical, you’d have seen him, and you’d have seen the marks.”
“I was furious, I will admit, but it is based on what I heard him [Geroge] say, and he was also furious because of what the person said.”
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On his part, Mr Sam George said it was not a physical confrontation as had been suggested. “If Mr Agyapong says he is a black belt, I am also a son of a fisherman, and if he had come with his black belt, he would have met a fisherman’s son.”
“We won’t be standing here together if there had been a confrontation, one of us would have been heading for Korle Bu by now,” he said in a jest amidst laughter from other members of the committee who were present at the briefing.
Explaining, Mr Agyapong said he confronted the Ningo Prampram MP for violating a committee decision not to go public on the StarTimes-DTT deal until after Thursday’s meeting.
“Apparently, I wasn’t happy with what he said yesterday at the IMANI meeting but he had a reason saying, whatever he said was because somebody made a statement, actually insulting the integrity of the committee, so his response,” Mr Agyapong said.
“We [committee] had earlier met, that we were going to meet GIBA on Thursday, so I was surprised to hear him talking. Honestly speaking, what the person said I did not hear until today when the problem came, then we retired to chambers then he [George] also explained that you didn’t listen to me.
"I was furious because the statement this person made against the committee. which we have taken a decision is not going to end here, because of what the person said against the committee.”
“So I [Kennedy] have apologized to him [George], then I also questioned why is it that I am the chairman of the committee, you hear something like this, you don’t tell me, and he said well, you don’t pick your calls sometimes Mr chairman, and I said, well you are not a woman, so I will not pick your call. So he also apologized to me.”
“So initially, I confronted him, I was very furious of yesterday because of previous decisions we have all taken but honestly after we came back, we had a fruitful discussion and you can ask GIBA whatever decisions we took.”
“I hear Honourable [Ras] Mubarak saying it was physical, no, no it wasn’t physical, he is here, you can ask him. I am a black belt [holder], if it was physical, you’d have seen him, you’d have seen the marks.
“I was furious, I will admit but it is based on what I heard him say, and he was also furious because of what the person said.”
On his part, Mr Sam George said: “at the beginning of the meeting, there was a misunderstanding over my comments I made on the IMANI platform yesterday.”
“My chairman felt that post our Tuesday committee meeting, I should have stayed any comment on the matter but I later drew his attention to the matter that someone had passed comments that cast aspersions on the integrity of the entire committee of communications and that is why I had to go and clear the air on the IMANI platform, because the person had spoken to the media and the media was present at that platform.”
“Post that we came back and had fruitful engagements with GIBA and going forward, GIBA is meeting the Ministry this afternoon and we would also be having further meetings with other stakeholders like the NCA and the Ministry to understand fully this matter and as a committee, we would continue to exercise our oversight responsibilities.”
“So anybody who says it was a physical confrontation, I am a son of a fisherman, and he had come with his black belt, he would have met a fisherman’s son.”
“We won’t be standing here together if there had been a confrontation, one of us would have be heading for Korle Bu by now,” Mr George said in a jest.