Crime

Special Prosecutor files fresh charges against Mahama Ayariga

THE Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has filed fresh charges against Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, over the importation into the country and sale of three second-hand V8 vehicles.

Mr Ayariga now faces five new charges of using public office for private benefit and for profit contrary to section 179C (a) and 179D of the criminal offences Act, Act 29, court documents filed on July 11.

Mahama Ayariga

It is the second move by the Special Prosecutor to attempt to get the Accra High Court to imprison the MP for allegedly breaching the laws of the land in the importation and sale of the vehicles.

Mr Amidu’s initial attempt suffered a setback in court last month as the court struck out three of the four charges filed against Mr Ayariga, whose case is the first to have come from the Special Prosecutor’s office more than a year after it started operations.

The charges of fraudulent evasion of taxes, fraudulent evasion of customs duties and dealing in foreign exchange without a licence were dismissed by the court on grounds that they were not within the mandate of the Special Prosecutor as they are not corruption-related offences.

The new charge sheet stated Mr Ayariga in 2017, dishonestly abused his office for private benefit by contriving to have paid into his personal account through an intermediary, $80,000 loan granted by parliament, instead of being paid through the banking system or directly to the supplier of the vehicles.

In November 2017, the MP was said to have abused his office for private benefit by fraudulently evading customs duties and taxes of GH₵36,597.15, which he was requested by the Ministry of Finance to pay in order to clear the three vehicles he imported into the country.

This was after he was granted tax and duties exemption on the basis that the vehicles were for his official use as a member of parliament. Mr Ayariga paid only GH₵6,062.86, the charge sheet stated.

Further, the document showed in March 2018 at Dansoman, Mr Ayariga used his office to make profit, by fraudulently evading customs duties and taxes when he ceased using the vehicles for his official duties as MP, and sold them for $40,000 each without paying the waived duties and taxes of GH₵153,716.50.

His accomplice, Kenderick Akwasi Marfo, a car rental dealer, who was discharged by the High Court in the first case, now faces one count of acting in collaboration with a public officer for the officer’s private profit.

Marfo is accused of conniving with Ayariga for him to dishonestly abuse his public office for private profit when bought the three vehicles at $40,000 each when he and Ayariga knew that the duties and taxes of GH₵153,716.50 on the said vehicles had not been paid. Source: 3news.com

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