Ayariga challenges Amidu’s qualification, capacity to investigate him

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Counsel for Bawku Central Member of Parliament, Mahama Ayariga is seeking to challenge the qualification of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor and his capacity and remit to investigate alleged offences levelled against their client.

Mr. Ayariga has been hauled to court by the Special Prosecutor for alleged criminal offences including fraudulent evasion of customs, duties and taxes, using public office for private benefit, dealing in foreign exchange without licence and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an aunauthorised dealer.

Mr. Ayariga however seeks to contest the qualification of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor. He argues that the latter, on account of his age; 65 years, is not qualified to hold the Office of the Special Public Prosecutor since the holding of that office is in contravention of article 199 (1) and (4) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

He also is seeking to challenge the capacity and remit of Mr. Amidu in the case. According to him, the specific counts levelled against him (Ayariga) do not fall within the remit or powers of the Special Prosecutor’s office considering the same has been mandated by law to prosecute offences relating solely to corruption.

Additionally, counsel of the accused, Mr. Ayariga is seeking to ascertain whether officers from the Special Prosecutor’s office have the right to use the solicitor general’s license.

Presiding judge, Justice Afia Botwe ordered that the defense lawyers simultaneously file their arguments for the applications set before the court by Wednesday so it is considered and moved subsequently.
The case has since been adjourned to Monday June 17, 2019.

Background

This is the first case the Office is pursuing in court since its formation more than a year ago.

Joined to the suit is one Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car company.

According to the writ sighted “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 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 a Member of Parliament to Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car at a price of GH¢40,000 each.”

Credit: ghanaweb.com

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