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Court dismisses Ayariga’s application against Martin Amidu

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

The Accra High Court has dismissed an application by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, challenging the capacity of the Special Prosecutor,Mr Martin Amidu, to prosecute him.

It was the case of the legislator that Mr Amidu is above 65 years and, therefore, per Article 199 (1) and (4) of the 1992 Constitution, he is not ‘qualified’ to hold the office of Special Prosecutor, which is a public office.

But in a ruling Monday morning, the court held that making a determination on the capacity of Mr Amidu meant the court would be usurping the powers of the Supreme Court and also virtually stop Mr Amidu from working.

“Mr Amidu is the special prosecutor until the Supreme Court holds otherwise, the presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe ruled.

Charges struck out

The court, however, struck out three charges levelled against Ayariga and another charge against a businessman, who was alleged to have helped the MP evade taxes.

The charges struck out against the MP were fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes, dealing in foreign exchange without licence and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer.

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With regard to the business, Kendrick Akwasi Marfo, the court struck out the charge of fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes.

According to the court, the particulars of those offences did not relate to corruption or corruption related offences and are, therefore, not under the remit of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).

With the court striking out the four charges, the MP is only facing a charge of using public office for private benefit, in that particular case.

Case against Ayariga 

Ayariga is facing two separate criminal cases initiated by the OSP.

In the first case, he is alleged to have used his position as MP to evade taxes by paying GH¢6,062.86, instead of GH¢36,591.15, to clear some vehicles at the port.

With regard to the second case, the OSP has charged Ayariga, together with six others, including a former Municipal Chief Executive for Bawku, Hajia Hawa Ninchema, for allegedly engaging in procurement breaches.

The MCE, Ayariga and five others are facing seven counts of conspiracy, abetment, contravention of the procedure for request for quotation, using public office for profit and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer.

The seven accused are alleged to have acted together to import an ambulance without following due procurement process, as stipulated by law.