Crime

Special Prosecutors’ case against Ayariga: Accused files to stay proceedings

The legal tussle between Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central and Special Prosecutor (SP), A.B.K Martin Amidu is far from over as the lawyers for Ayariga have filed an appeal to stay ongoing proceedings at the high court.

The lawmaker was dragged to court by the SP for alleged tax evasion and procurement breaches.

On June 17, the Accra High Court dismissed a preliminary legal objection and a motion seeking to strike out the charge sheet by the defence.

The accused, charged with seven others in two different cases, wanted the court to rule that the Special Prosecutor (SP), Alamisi Burnes Kaizer Martin Amidu, is not qualified to prosecute him.

The MP further contended that the charges filed against him are statute barred and that the SP had exceeded his prosecutorial powers.

It is also the case of the accused that lawyers, who work for the SP should have a solicitor’s licence before they appear in court.

But, ruling on the applications, the presiding judge, Justice Effia Serwah Asare-Botwe, took the view that the offences fall within the mandate of the SP.

She stated that Mr Amidu is duly recognised as the SP, until the Supreme Court determines otherwise, the suit against his qualification.

The judge noted that Mr Amidu, a staunch anti-grant campaigner, can investigate and prosecute other corruption offences in accordance with the law.

Unhappy with the decision of the court, lawyers for the legislator filed three motions at the Court of Appeal for an order for the release of the ambulance and to stay proceedings before the high court.

Godwin Kudzo Tameklo said should the Court of Appeal hold that Amidu does not have or is not qualifed to occupy the office the entire case would come to an end. 

Michael Baafi opposed the application and said it was a rehash of defence’s earlier application to dismiss the charge sheet which was refused by the court.  

In the first case, Mr Ayariga was granted self-recognisance bail of GH¢100,000 and asked to deposit his passport with the registrar of the court.

He was asked to notify the court in writing anytime he needs the passport to travel.

His alleged accomplices, Hajia Hawa Ninchema, Sumaila Ewuntoma Abudu, Alex Vadze, Alhaji Abdul-Mumuni Jesewunde, Mary Stella Adapesa and Yakubu Mumuni Nambe have been granted GH¢50,000 bail each with two sureties.

The facts according to the prosecution are that Hajia Ninchema, Abudu, Vadze, and Abdul-Mumuni Jesewunde are the Municipal Chief Executive Officer, former Municipal Coordinating Director, the Procurement Officer and the Municipal Finance Officer, respectively of the Bawku Municipal Assembly, while Adepesa is the former Municipal Health Director of the Assembly.

The prosecutor, Mr Michael Baafi, said, Mr Nambe is the Assembly Member of South Natinga electoral area of the Bawku Municipal Assembly.

He said Hajia Ninchema, Abudu, Vadze, Abdul-Mumuni Jesewunde are members of the procurement entity of the Assembly.

The court heard that in February 2018, the Assembly and the Bawku Municipal Health Directorate acting through Hajia Ninchema and Adepesa discussed with Ayariga the need to procure an ambulance to ensure quality delivery of health services in the municipality.

He said an agreement was made to use the MP’s Common Fund for the procurement of a Mercedez Benz Sprinter ambulance at a dollar equivalent of GH¢92,000.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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