Prime News Ghana

Court halts trial of Mahama Ayariga

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Martin Amidu & Mahama Ayariga
Martin Amidu & Mahama Ayariga
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An Accra High court has halted the trial of Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga.

Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe stayed proceedings pending the Supreme Court’s decision of the legitimacy of Martin Amidu to hold the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

Lawyers for the MP had argued that the case cannot proceed due to a pending appeal they have filed challenging an earlier ruling of the court.

The MP, who has been charged with using his public office for private gain by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, had earlier urged the court to dismiss the case against him as he questioned the eligibility of Mr Amidu.

This was dismissed by the Court, presided over Justice Asare Botwe, as it ruled that despite a pending suit questioning Mr Amidu’s eligibility at the Supreme Court, he can still file charges.

Mr. Tamakloe told the Court they are seeking to overturn its ruling at the Court of Appeal. He further stated that another case against the eligibility of the Special Prosecutor is pending.

The Special Prosecutor’s office represented by Michael Baafi, opposed the application. He argued that no harm will be occasioned Mr. Ayariga if the trial progresses.

He argued that the Court of Appeal (hearing the appeal) and the Supreme Court (hearing the Amidu eligibility case), can make orders truncating the trial of the MP if it finds merit in the case.

Justice Botwe on Wednesday, July 31, ruled that the trial will stand adjourned awaiting the decision of the apex court.

“It will be ridiculous if the case should continue, call witnesses and probably issue subpoenas and all have to come to an end by the decision of the Supreme Court,“ the Judge said.

Special Prosecutor to prosecute Mahama Ayariga

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu is prosecuting MP Mahama Ayariga for evading customs duties and taxes contrary to section 121(2) of the Customs Act, 2015 (ACT 891).

According to the bill of indictment “Mahama Ayariga aged 44 years in November 2017 at Tema in the Greater Accra Region did fraudulently evade customs duties and taxes by paying GH¢6,062.86 instead of the approved duties and taxes of GH¢36,597.15 to clear three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers.”

Mahama Ayariga is also accused of allegedly abusing his office as a public officer for his private benefit by “selling three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers with registration numbers GR 2220-18, GR 2221-18 and GR 2222-18 meant to be used for his official duties as a Member of Parliament to Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car at a price of GH¢40,000 each.”

The Bawku Central MP is also among other things being accused by the Special Prosecutor of transferring “foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer contrary to sections 15(3) and 29(1) of the Foreign Exchange Act 2006, Act 723.”

Mahama Ayariga is jointly charged with one Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car company.