Ayariga Dares Martin Amidu
A showdown is in the offing between the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central and the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, as the former turned down an invitation to appear before the Office of Special Prosecutor.
Mahama Ayariga is allegedly in breach of tax regulations, for which reason the Special Prosecutor demanded that he should appear before the office.
According to Mahama Ayariga, he cannot oblige the invitation because it’s fraught with anomalies.
The invitation is for Tuesday but now that the MP has turned down the invitation, it is unknown what action the Special Prosecutor will take.
The Bawku Central MP is also expected to answer questions that pertain to an alleged abuse of office.
The filing of a charge against the MP in March this year comes on the heels of complaints that the Special Prosecutor is not working after failing to prosecute persons perceived to be corrupt in the country.
Before this maiden action by the Special Prosecutor, a news item had gone round to the effect that very soon prosecutions would take place against suspects in the country.
It remains to be seen whether the MP would rescind his decision not to honour the June 4 invitation.
Given the conditions surrounding the invitation of MPs, the Special Prosecutor is said to have written to the Speaker of Parliament as required by law.
Mahama Ayariga’s reluctance to honour the invitation has prompted questions about the next step of Mr. Amidu.
The legal battle that would follow would make interesting observation as Martin Amidu makes do with the available options open to him.
The MP appears to be invoking the privileges bestowed upon legislators even though the Speaker has been duly notified about the invitation.
According to him, “Absenting myself from sittings of Parliament for a certain number of days without the Speaker’s permission could be grounds for my removal from Parliament.”
The Speaker, he went on, has no right to release an MP so he can appear before a court of law, a constitutional issue which paves the way for a debate.
“Be informed that any conduct on your part that in anyway impedes or obstructs my right to be in Parliament on 4th June and represent the good people of Bawku will amount to contempt of Parliament,” Mr. Ayariga stated.
“I believe you have read Article 122 of the Constitution. The language of Article 122 does bind even the Speaker of Parliament,” he added.
Observers are asking why the MP won’t just make an appearance if he does not have anything to hide rather than hiding behind untenable legal technicalities.
Earlier, a US-based Constitutional Lawyer, Prof. Kwaku Asare, described as “misplaced” the initial exchanges between the Special Prosecutor and the MP.
The MP, he said, must make himself available in court, adding that “this is noise.”
Personalising and politicizing the issue is not the best option but rather a court argument.
According to Prof. Asare, Mr. Amidu was under no obligation to write to the legislator to appear in court.
Joined to the suit is one Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car company.
The writ reads, “Mahama Ayariga aged 44 years in November 2017 in Tema in the Greater Accra Region did fraudulently evade customs duties and taxes by paying GH¢6,062 instead of the approved duties and taxes of GH¢36,597.15 to clear three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers.”
He 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 your official duties as Member of Parliament to Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car at a price of GH¢40,000 each.”
By A.R. Gomda