The trial of the MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, could not open at an Accra high court Monday due to the absence of the first witness for the state.
A prosecutor in the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), Michael Baafi, informed the court that they intend to file a subpoena to force the witness to come to court.
Baafi said the Special Prosecutor’s office had made arrangements to host the witness in Accra ahead of the court sitting, however, the witness called last night (Sunday night) to say his mother is indisposed and he is taking care of her hence his inability to come to court.
He pleaded with the court to adjourn the case so the witness could be produced in court.
Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe subsequently adjourned sitting to 13 October 2020.
Justice Asare Botwe said she is minded to adjourn the trial to a date in the new legal year which will commence in October 2020 due to the Chief Justice’s directives on the start of new cases at the High Courts.
Chief Justice Anin Yeboah has directed that High Courts should not start new cases that may not reach a terminal point before the end of the current legal year which ends on 31 July 2020.
Ayariga has been charged with using his public office for private gain by the Special Prosecutor (SP), Martin Amidu.
He has also been accused of tax evasion in the clearance of vehicles and illegal transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana to Dubai without having the required licence to undertake such transaction.
Joined to the suit is Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car company.
“Mahama Ayariga aged 44 years, in November 2017 at Tema in the Greater Accra Region did fraudulently evade customs duties and taxes by paying GHC6,062.86 instead of the approved duties and taxes of GHC36,597.15 to clear three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers,” the writ filed by the Special Prosecutor states.
He is also accused of “selling three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers with registration numbers GR 2220-18, GR 2221-18 and GR 2222-18 meant to be used for official duties as a Member of Parliament to Kendrick Akwasi Marfo of ATLAS-Rent-A-Car at a price of GHC40,000 each”.
The MP for Bawku Central said he feels haunted by the Special Prosecutor over the ongoing court case.
He said the evidence provided by the Office of the Special Prosecutor does not warrant the level of disdain expressed by the SP towards him.
“I feel haunted … There is no doubt about that,” he told Joy FM.
“I don’t think that those facts warrant prosecution … Where an ambulance is purchased and the pricing is the customs-declared value without profit or compensation for the supplier, clearly that should tell you that all the people who are involved in the acquisition of the ambulance were not out to defraud the state,” he said.