Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has decried the rationale for Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, leveling fresh charges filed against him.
The former Minister of Information and Media Relations who doubled as the Minister of Youth and Sports, has expressed concern over how the case is being handled.
He revealed, while speaking to Joy FM that, more than GH¢ 140,000 has been deducted from his salary to defray what he described as “loan” to buy a car.
Mr. Ayariga is also insisting, he has done no wrong, especially that he is paying back the loan granted him by the government for the purchase of the vehicles in question.
Puzzled by the situation, Mr. Ayariga quizzed, “What are you doing?”
“A loan is given to someone to buy a brand new vehicle, the person goes to buy slightly used vehicles, the person is paying the loan back – so far over 140,000 Ghana cedis of my salary has been deducted to pay off the loan. Really what is the issue, how is that abuse of office?” he further questioned.
Confident of the case being appropriately resolved, the Bawku Central MP urged the Special Prosecutor to use his office to prosecute the cases for which the law established it.
“We passed the law establishing his office to fight corruption, stealing of public money (but) in each instance, you should show that that is what you are pursuing,” he stated.
An exhibit dated May 24, 2019, containing the new charges being pressed against the MP states the offence as, “fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes contrary to section 121 (2) (f) of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891).”
All the charges relate to the MP’s importation of three Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles in 2017, partly funded by a loan facility guaranteed by Parliament and accessible for all MPs.
On the same matter, a car rental dealer, Kendrick Marfo, is being charged by the Special Prosecutor for the second time.
The first of five counts, according to the Statement of Offence, relates to “fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes contrary to section 121 (2) (f) of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891).”
The second count relates to Mr. Ayariga’s use of “public office to for private benefit contrary to section 179C (a) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).”
On that count, the Special Prosecutor claims the legislator violated the law when he sold three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers which were to be used for his official duties to Mr. Marfo for $48,000 each.
The third count is in relation to fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes contrary to section 121(2) of the customs Act 2015 (Act 891), while the fourth count is on dealing with foreign exchange without licence contrary to sections 3(1) and 29(1) of the foreign exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723).
The last count hinged on transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorized dealer contrary to sections 15(3) and 29 (1a) of the foreign exchange Act 2006 (Act 723).
This count particularly states that, the MP “did transfer foreign exchange from Ghana to Dubai for the purchase of three second hand Toyota V8 Land Cruisers through an authorized dealer.”