The embattled Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, is unperturbed about the High Court dismissal of a motion he filed against the Special Prosecutor, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, since he believes the Supreme Court will bring finality to the matter.
According to Mr Ayariga, the court admitted on Monday, June 17, 209 that, the case was already in the Supreme Court, a situation he said, would make its ruling seem premature.
According to the Presiding Judge, Justice Efia Serwaa Botwe, a determination on the capacity of the Special Prosecutor meant that the court would be usurping the powers of the Supreme Court.
Speaking on Citi FM on that Monday night, which was monitored by Today, Mr. Ayariga, however, said: although he respected the judge’s decision, he would begin other processes to ensure that the Supreme Court brings meaning to his concerns.
“I don’t really think the case was thrown out. I think the judge admitted that the matter is before the Supreme Court so she declined to pronounce on that except that, if she goes according to our application, she will be injuncting the Special Prosecutor. So I thought that having admitted that the matter was in the Supreme Court, she should have abstained from proceedings so that we await the outcome of the Supreme Court. But she used a different approach but I don’t believe she is the last word on the matter. My lawyers have copies of the ruling so they will study for a proper approach,” he pointed out.
“Her ruling raises a lot of legal issues. I have challenges with the ruling but being a lawyer, I have to respect the judge and her ruling. I think she should allow other senior lawyers to give their opinions on this matter. But we are looking at it. Ordinarily, we will explore other avenues to restrain her until the apex court makes a decision. The other approach is to appeal to the Court of Appeal and then end up at the Supreme Court. Whichever way, I think the Supreme Court will bring finality to the matter,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the court has struck out three charges out of five levelled against the Bawku Central MP and a businessman, who was alleged to have helped the MP to evade taxes.
The charges struck out were fraudulent evasion of customs duties and taxes, dealing in foreign exchange without license and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorised dealer.
Meanwhile two legal practitioners have backed a move by Mr Ayariga to seek clarity on the extent of some of the privileges granted Parliamentarians.
Inusah Fuseini, also an MP, and Martin Kpebu, a private legal practitioner, said an ongoing tension between the judiciary and the legislator on whether a sitting Parliamentarian can be made to stand trial in a criminal offence provides an opportunity to get a constitutional interpretation from the apex court.
“I subscribe to the attempt to go to the Supreme Court. We should have the court pronounce on this once and for all,” Martin Kpebu said this on Joy News on Monday June 17, 2019.
Citing the United Kingdom (UK) as an example where a similar disagreement occurred, he said, it took the country some five decades to resolve it.
“When it all begun, one day the UK Parliament imprisoned two judges for taking a decision that they thought infringed upon their privileges.
They called the judges before Parliament and cited them for contempt…there are other interesting cases. So in a democracy, these things happen,” Mr Kpebu added.
Tamale Central MP, Mr Fuseini, who also commented on the issue stated that Ghana’s jurisprudence on the remits of the privileges and immunities can only be illustrated and better established if the Supreme Court makes a pronouncement.
Story: Atta KWAKU BOADI
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org