The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, is challenging the capacity of the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Alamisi Amidu, to prosecute him for allegedly using public office for private benefit.
He has, accordingly, filed an application seeking the Accra High Court to strike out the charge sheet filed against him by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and also restrain Amidu from proceeding with the criminal prosecution against him.
It is the case of the legislator that Amidu is above 65 years and, therefore, per Article 199 (1) and (4) of the 1992 Constitution, he is not ‘qualified’ to hold the office of Special Prosecutor, which is a public office.
In view of that, Ayariga is arguing that the charge sheet which gave rise to the criminal proceedings against him is “defective” because it had the signature of Amidu, who “had no capacity in law” to append his signature.
“Due to the incurable defectiveness of the charge sheet, the charges leveled against me contained therein are also a nullity and of no effect. Under the circumstances, it is a proper case for the charge sheet to be struck out, together with the accompanying counts, by this honourable court,” he argued in his affidavit in support of the application.
Apart from challenging Amidu’s capacity, Ayariga is also challenging the power of the OSP to investigate and prosecute some of the offences leveled against him.
The MP argues that the OSP was set up to purposely investigate corruption and corruption-related offences.
He avers that some of the counts levelled against him, such as dealing in foreign exchange without licence, transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer and the fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes, are not under the remit of the OSP and, therefore, the office cannot prosecute him on those charges.
At yesterday’s hearing, the presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, directed the MP’s legal team and the OSP to simultaneously file their respective legal arguments for and against the application within three days.
The court, subsequently, fixed Monday, June 17, 2019 to rule on the application.