Prime News Ghana

I take responsibility for lapses in Mahama Ayariga's charge sheet – Amidu

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

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu has taken responsibility for the apparent lapses in the charge sheet he sent to court in his case against the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga.

Three of the charges he proffered against the legislator were struck out by the court hearing the case.

The charges in question, according to the judge, had no link to corruption-related offences and were not also within the remit of the Special Prosecutor.

Martin Amidu in an interview with Daily Graphic said, “When I got the judgment, I had no doubt that the judge in the case did the right thing by not pronouncing on the ability of the office to investigate and prosecute under the Customs Act or the Foreign Exchange Act”.

Mahama Ayariga has been accused of evading 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.

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

Mr Amidu explained to the Daily Graphic that the ruling simply meant he needed to provide Mr. Ayariga more details of the link between the foreign exchange offences and corruption-related offences.

He said he felt that the mere mention of the Land Cruisers in his writ was enough of a link.

“In this case, counts one, three, four and five on our charge sheet regrettably fell short in the particulars in making any reference to any part of these offences having been allegedly perpetrated in furtherance of corruption,” he told the paper.

Mr Amidu said his office will be guided in the future to provide the needed particulars to back such charges.

“All we have to do is make sure our particulars meet the standard. I welcome the decision of the High Court and… I take ultimate responsibility for the lapse in the drafting,” he said

What the judge did was to insist that there must be a connection between the breach of the customs offence or the foreign exchange offence in the “perpetuation of a corruption-related enterprise and this must be clearly stated and come out in the particulars of the offence,” Mr Amidu added.

Mahama Ayariga 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.”

Mahama Ayariga was also accused of allegedly abusing his office as a public officer for his private benefit by selling the three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers meant to be used for official duties as a Member of Parliament to one Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car at a price of GH¢40,000 each.

Kendrick Akwasi Marfo was also joined to the Special Prosecutors suit but the charge against him was also struck out.

The decision by the court left  Mahama Ayariga with only the charge of using public office for private benefit to answer to.

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