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05.06.2019 Parliament

Minority To Seek Justice For Ayariga At Supreme Court

Minority To Seek Justice For Ayariga At Supreme Court

The Minority caucus of Parliament have served notices, they would proceed to the Supreme Court to seek clear interpretation on the basis of the trial of a Member of Parliament by the Special Prosecutor before an Accra High Court.

Hon Haruna Iddrisu, Leader of the Minority caucus stated this in Parliament Tuesday following the order of the High Court Judge for Mahama Ayariga to appear before the court.

According to the Tamale South lawmaker, the presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe has no such powers to interpret Article 118 and 117 of the 1992 Constitution.

The Bawku Central lawmaker, Ayariga is facing criminal charges instigated by the Special Prosecutor, for alleged tax evasion, procurement and trading in foreign currency exchange without authorization.

Martin Amidu who is leading the trial alleged that, the Bawku Central MP evaded tax to the tune of GH¢30,528.29 after he had imported three second-hand Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles.

He is said to have paid GH¢6,062.86 instead of GH¢36,591.15.

But the Minority is of the view that the High Court Judge stepped out of her boundaries to interpret the constitution which is the sole preserve of the Supreme Court.

Hon Haruna said Parliamentarians have some extent of immunity under the constitution and that is explicitly enshrined in 1992 constitution and any act that sought to breach that which could lead to contempt.

He hinted that the Minority would seek interpretation of the apex court of the land on Articles 118 and 117 and 122.

“We aren’t saying that he would not appear before trial but allow him to work as an elected representative of Parliament while he respects due process and the rule of law. I do not think that the presiding judge had the clouts to interpret the constitution as I understand the 1992 Constitution," Haruna stated in parliament.

The Minority leader insisted Mr Ayariga could not be summoned to appear on days Parliament is sitting, stressing that, that summons could only be in the case the MP appearing as a witness but not as an accused person.

The trial judge has earlier had discounted a certificate by the Speaker of Parliament and an order to Mr Ayariga to appear before by 1:00 pm, though the lawmaker was in Parliament attending proceedings.

The legal fracas led Parliament to suspend sitting for an hour before the Speaker made a ruling allowing Ayariga to answer the court invitation.

After the day’s sitting, the Minority Leader stated, “We intend to challenge and table before the Supreme Court of Ghana."