National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga, has turned down an invitation to appear in court on Tuesday, 4 May 2019 by the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, citing parliamentary duties.
The opposition lawmaker in a letter addressed to Mr Amidu stated that he can be available on any other day that does not coincide with parliamentary sitting.
Mr Ayariga is being prosecuted by Mr Amidu for tax and duty evasion.
Mr Amidu in a suit filed against Mr Ayariga leveled five charges against the Former Information Minister.
Mr Amidu alleged that Mr Ayariga abused the privileges he enjoyed as an MP by conniving with a private company to secure a loan, import three cheaper vehicles from Dubai and failed to pay duties on them under the guise that they were for official duty.
The court is expected to sit on the application on Tuesday, 4 June 2019.
But Mr. Ayariga in a letter dated Sunday, June 2 to Mr Amidu, contends that the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye was not vested with the powers to release a sitting MP from sittings.
“My inability to honour your invitation is because parliament is in session and will be sitting on that day – Tuesday, 4 June 2019. The parliament of Ghana, when in session sits on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and any other day appointed by the Speaker that is not a public holiday,” Mr Ayariga’s letter said, adding: “I can come to court on any other day when parliament is not sitting.”
“Assuming that I even want to honour your invitation, given the high office in whose name you act, I will have to seek and obtain permission from the Rt. Hon Speaker to be able to do so. Unfortunately, I am not enthused about abandoning my parliamentary duties in response to your inappropriately timed invitation Absenting myself from sittings of Parliament for a certain number of days, without the Speaker’s permission, could be grounds for my removal from Parliament. This is trite constitutional law”.
Attached is the full letter: