The embattled lawmaker for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga travelling passport has been confiscated by the High Court where he is under trial by the Special Prosecutor for allegedly using public office for private gains.
The passport was impounded on Monday, June 17, after the court presided by Justice Afia Serwa Asare-Botwe had granted Ayariga bail haven struck out four of the charges made against the MP.
Besides a bail sum of GHS100,0000 with a surety to be justified, Ayariga was ordered to surrender his passport to the court’s registry.
The Bawku Central lawmaker was also ordered to report to the court anytime he intends to travel outside the country and would have to seek permission before his passport could be released to him.
The presiding judge, Justice Asare Botwe, has since fixed July 8, for a full trial of the case where Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu would lead evidence to prove the guilt of Ayariga for using public office as a legislator to personal benefits.
The Monday ruling was an application file by Ayariga, invoking the High Court jurisdiction to strike out all charges brought against him on grounds that, Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor is not qualified to hold himself as a state prosecutor.
Ayariga's position is that, at 66, Mr Amidu had overgrown passed the 65 years age limit permissible for employment into public service, but the High Court declined jurisdiction on Amidu age with the explanation that there is a case pending at the Supreme Court.
Already, however, four of the five charges that the SP brought against the Bawku Central MP were struck out by the court, on grounds that those charges did not relate to corruption or corruption-related offences that fall under the remit of the Special Prosecutor.
The charges included, the alleged fraudulent evasion of Customs duties and taxes, deal in foreign exchange without authority and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana to an unauthorized dealer.
Mr Ayariga, now only has Amidu’s second count, “Using Public Office for Private Benefit Contrary to Section 179C (a) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29),” to answer for.
The dismissal of the four other charges against the MP effectively means that Kendrick Akwasi Marfo, the businessman who is alleged to have helped Mahama Ayariga evade taxes, has also been left off the hook. He was duly discharged on Monday.