mahama ayariga
Mahama Ayariga (3rd L) on his way to court

Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central in the Upper East region, Mahama Ayariga, today filed a motion seeking an order of the court to strike out the charges of fraud and tax evasion levelled against him by the Special Prosecutor (SP), Martin Amidu.

An Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, did not take the plea of the two accused persons nor give any consideration to the bail issues in the case involving the MP and one Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car Company, because of the said application that was pending at the court.

The case, which was called at about 9:am, was stood down till 1:pm because the MP was not present in court.

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The court, thus, directed lawyers of the MP, lead by Godwin Tamakloe, to produce the accused person before the court for hearing at 1:pm.

At about 12:50pm, Mr Ayariga in the company of the Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, and other MPs, including Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Dr Dominic Ayine,  Ato Forson, Kofi Armah Buah, Thomas Ampem, James Agalga, Sam George and Bernard Ahiafor filed in into the Financial and Economic Crime High Court 2 for the hearing.

At the commencement of the hearing, lawyer for Mr Ayariga, the 1st accused person, indicated to the court that a Certificate of the Speaker of Parliament had been issued to Mr Ayariga to present to the court. 

Essentially, the Certificate sought to ask the court to invite the MP (accused person) only on days when Parliament is not sitting.

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In a brief ruling, the judge referred to Article 118 of the 1992 Constitution which states that:

“Neither the Speaker, nor a member of, nor the Clerk to Parliament shall be compelled, while attending Parliament to appear as a witness in any court or place out of Parliament.”

And said the court is of the opinion that though the court had taken notice of the Certificate of the Speaker, the MP was in court as an accused person and not as a witness as is captured in Article 118 of the Constitution 1992.

The court added that the case would continue according to law and expeditiously so. Subsequently, Justice Botwe’s court adjourned sitting to June 10, 2019, for the defence team to move their motions to be filed.