Prime News Ghana

Duty and Tax Evasion : Court strikes out three charges Martin Amidu filed against Mahama Ayariga

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Martin Amidu & Mahama Ayariga
Martin Amidu & Mahama Ayariga

An Accra High Court has struck out three charges levelled against the MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga.

Another charge against a businessman who allegedly assisted the MP to evade taxes was also struck out.

The charges are fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes, dealing in foreign exchange without license and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorized dealer.

According to the court presided over by Justice Efia Serwa Botwe, the particulars of those offences did not relate to corruption or corruption-related offences and are not under the remit of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).

The decision by the court, therefore, leaves Mr. Ayariga with the only option of answering to the charge of using public office for private benefit.

Ayariga’s countersuit against Amidu was also dismissed by the court.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga in the application argued that Martin Amidu is above 65 years and, therefore, per Article 199 (1) and (4) of the 1992 Constitution, he is not ‘qualified’ to hold public office.

According to the court, a determination on the capacity of the Special Prosecutor meant the court would be usurping the powers of the Supreme Court and also stopping Mr Amidu from working.

Mr. Ayariga filed a motion after the special prosecutor arraigned him for prosecution, citing among other reasons that Martin Amidu is not fit to act as Special Prosecutor due to his age.

Background

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu sued the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga.

Mahama Ayariga was facing five counts of among other things, evasion of duties and taxes. Joined to the suit was one Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car company.

According to the writ “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.”

He was 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 your 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 was 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.”

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