The Accra High Court has ruled that the MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, is obliged by law to stand trial in a criminal case filed against him by the Special Prosecutor.
According to Justice Afia Serwah Asare- Botwe, per Article 118 of the 1992 Constitution, MPs have immunity not to attend court in the course of their duty only when they have been invited to testify in court as witnesses.
According to her, since Mahama Ayariga is an accused person and not a witness, he is not immune to stand trial.
Justice Botwe made the ruling following a certificate filed at the court’s registry by the Speaker of Parliament asking the court to exempt Ayariga from the trial because he was attending parliamentary proceedings.
The case has been adjourned to June 10, for Ayariga’s lawyers to move an application challenging the appropriateness of the charges leveled against him.
Ayariga has not been formally charged in the courtroom.
He will be formally charged after the court had ruled on his lawyer's application challenging the charges.
Court orders lawyers to produce Mahama Ayariga in court
An Accra High Court has asked lawyers for MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga to produce the legislator in court today June 3 at 1:00 pm.
The Parliamentarian is being tried by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for alleged tax evasion and the procurement of some ambulances.
However, Ayariga wrote back to the Special Prosecutor indicating that he cannot be present in court on Tuesday since he is an MP and will be in Parliament.
“I can come to court on any other day when Parliament is not sitting,” Ayariga wrote. Keeping his word, Ayariga did not appear in court when both cases were called on Tuesday morning.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe has asked the legislator to be produced in court insisting that “whatever happens you are coming back today, so go and agree when all of you can be present.”
According to Joy FM's report, the judge asked the MP to be in court by 1:00 pm. The case is a criminal case and cannot proceed without him being present, the judge indicated.
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