The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga has defended his decision to counter sue the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who is pursuing him [the legislator] in court over alleged tax evasion and fraud.
According to Mahama Ayariga, his action is not borne out of fear but he only wants the Special Prosecutor to go through the right procedure.
Mr Amidu in May sued Mr Ayariga and subsequently wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye to “release” the Bawku Central legislator to appear in court on Tuesday, June 4 to answer to some criminal charges against him.
But the MP who just returned from Abuja on Parliamentary duties wrote to Martin Amidu describing the invitation as “inappropriate” hence will not honour it.
Ayariga’s letter has sparked debate on various media platforms with some persons accusing the MP of acting out of fear of prosecution.
But speaking on Eyewitness News, Mahama Ayariga said he is ready to appear before the court but on Mondays only.
He argued that the Constitution of the country frowns upon the obstruction of MPs from discharging their duties and that Parliamentary sitting will be held on Tuesday, thus he cannot be made to appear before the court on that day.
He stated that Parliament sits from Tuesdays to Fridays and so he will not be available to attend the court on any other day except Monday when there is no official parliamentary work.
“I have no objection going to court. I am not afraid to go to court. I am a trained lawyer so going to court is not something I am afraid of. This country is governed by laws and the constitution and everyone is guided by it. I am simply showing him that there is a way of dealing with MPs when it comes to trials and so to just write and say the Speaker should release me for you to arraign me before court on the day when Parliament is sitting, I’m saying, that is not allowed by the constitution of Ghana,” he said.
“The Constitution simply says that you cannot obstruct an MPs in the discharge of his duties. Parliament sits from Tuesdays to Fridays so if you want me to come to court, you can you shift your date to Monday so that on Monday I can come and then we go to court but if you ask me to come on Tuesday when Parliament is sitting, that is not right and you will be setting a bad precedent,” he added.
Martin Amidu in his suit against Mahama Ayariga alleged that the legislator abused the privileges he enjoys as a Member of Parliament by getting a loan for a car but connived with a private company to secure the funds and import three cheaper vehicles from Dubai and failing to pay appropriate duty for them under the guise that they were for official duties.
Mahama Ayariga subsequently filed a motion, praying that the charges against him by the Special Prosecutor should be dismissed because he believes Martin Amidu’s age,  disqualifies him from holding that office and so technically cannot act in that capacity to charge him.
Mr. Ayariga on Eyewitness News indicated that he felt there was nothing wrong with his action since he believes it was a prudent use of the loan he had been given.
“If somebody gives me a loan to buy a vehicle and the loan can buy two vehicles instead of one, what is the person’s problem if I buy two vehicles? I am Bawku Central MP, I don’t like to drive from Accra to Bawku all the time because it will cost me more over a 4 year period. So I decide that instead of buying one vehicle, let me buy two strong home-used 4×4 vehicles, keep one in Tamale and keep one here. If I have to travel in the Southern part of the country, I’ll use one in Accra and if I have to travel to the constituency, instead of driving all the way, I will fly to Tamale and then I drive from Tamale to my constituency. It makes economic sense. I am the best judge of how efficiently to deploy the resources,” he said.
It is unclear yet what next action the Special Prosecutor will take.