You need my permission to travel – Judge tells Ayariga
The Financial and Tax Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe has issued stern instructions to the Member of Parliament of Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga and six others who are standing trial to seek “express permission” from the court before they travel outside the jurisdiction.
According to the court, the practice in criminal matters requires the accused persons to be present in court anytime the matter was called.She added that they must come with proper motion for the court to rule on it and also attach conditions to their travels.
Justice Asare Botwe was reacting to a letter her court has received from one of the accused persons who had requested for his passport – which is with the court – to secure Visa to travel after they were granted bail in the matter.
In court on Thursday, the court said, “I received a letter from one of the accused persons. ..If anybody will be absent give us adequate notice. Don’t write to us on the day of the case.
If you are an accused person and want to travel especially those travelling outside the country, come for express permission by motion and I will give you conditions, if any thing at all.“This is is not a civil case it is a criminal matter,” added.
The court said it “wants to know where you will be and when you will goand addresses, letters everything so that in case anybody has bad ideas about where he is going, Then Court will have an idea where he is.”
The case before Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe has stayed pending the Supreme Court’s decision of the legitimacy of Martin Amidu to hold the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on April 29, 2020.
Meanwhile, the court has asked the accused persons to report the court twice on March 31 and April 30 before the apex court’s decision on the locus of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor.
The MP, who has been charged with using his public office for private gain by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, had earlier urged the court to dismiss the case against him as he questioned the eligibility of Mr Amidu.
The OSP has charged the MP and six others, including the current MCE for Bawku, Hajia Ninchema, for allegedly engaging in procurement breaches.
The seven accused persons are facing seven counts of conspiracy, abetment, contravention of the procedure for request for quotation, using public office for profit and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer.
The seven are alleged to have acted together to import an ambulance without following due procurement process, as stipulated by law.
Proceedings have been stayed awaiting the Supreme Court decision.
Two criminal cases
Ayariga was dragged to court by the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, in two criminal cases.
In the first case, Ayariga was accused of using public office for private benefit.According to the Special Prosecutor, Ayariga allegedly used his position as MP to evade taxes by paying GH¢6,062.86, instead of GH¢36,591.15, to clear some vehicles at the port.
He was charged with four counts of fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes, using public office for private benefit, dealing in foreign exchange without licence and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer.
A second accused person, Kendrick Akwasi Marfo, a car dealer, faces one count of fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes.
In the second case, the Special Prosecutor charged Ayariga, together with six others, including a former Municipal Chief Executive for Bawku, Hajia Hawa Ninchema, for allegedly engaging in procurement breaches.
The MCE, Ayariga and five others are facing seven counts of conspiracy, abetment, contravention of the procedure for request for quotation, using public office for profit and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer.The seven are alleged to have acted together.