Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has filed new charges against National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga.
The new charges filed at an Accra High Court accuse the NDC MP of using his public office for his personal gains in importing vehicles into the country illegally.
Mr. Ayariga, who was dragged before the court last month, is facing a total of five charges of using public office for private benefit and profit.
He is alleged to have fraudulently evaded customs duties and taxes on the importation of the vehicles into the country.
The MP is also being accused of abusing his office as an MP by selling three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers meant to be used by him for his official duties to Kenderick Akwasi Marfo of Atlas-Rent-A-Car at the price of $40,000 each. He has been charged alongside the MP.
According to the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Marfo stands accused for “Acting in collaboration with a public officer for the public officer’s benefit.”
Mr. Ayariga has already pleaded not guilty to using public office for private gain and was granted a self-recognizance bail of GH¢100,000 by the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe.
This was after the court dismissed an application challenging the qualification and capacity of Mr. Amidu as the Special Prosecutor.
The judge in her ruling also dismissed charges relating to evasion of taxes saying they did not state any specific act of corruption or corruption related issues hence do not fall within the mandate of the Special Prosecutor but retained the charge of using public office for private gain.
Mr. Marfo who was charged along with Mr. Ayariga in connection with the V8 cars was discharged since the charge against him was struck out by the court.
In another case, the NDC MP is also before the court together with six others over charges relating to the purchase of an ambulance for the Bawku Municipal Assembly.
The other suspects in the ambulance case include Hajia Hawa Ninchema, Sumaila Ewuntomah Abudu, Alex Vadze, Alhaji Abdul-Mumuni Jesewunde, Mary Stellla Adapesa and Mumuni Yakubu Nambe.
Per the facts of the case as filed in court, Parliament, at its fifth sitting on April 7, 2017, approved agreement with SocieteGenerale for the purchase of vehicles for official use by the MPs by a resolution.
It said each MP was entitled to $80,000 payable within a period of four years.
It said the MPs could, however, only access the loan through a supplier as none of them was entitled to personally collect the loan due to them.
Mr. Ayariga connived with one Ahmed Tijani Abdulai, who registered a company called ASH Plantpool Limited with the sole purpose of representing the Bawku Central MP as his supplier.
It said Mr. Ayariga then requested his share of the loan, which was transferred into the bank account of ASH Plantpool.
ASH Plantpool then transferred $78,000 out of the amount into the personal bank account of Mr. Ayariga and kept $2,000 as his commission contrary to the loan agreement.
The MP then used the money to import three Toyota Land Cruisers from Dubai.
The fact said when the vehicles arrived, Mr. Ayariga applied for a tax exemption to clear the vehicles from the port which was granted to him on the condition that he pays an amount of GH¢36,591.15 upfront since the duties and the taxes on the vehicles exceeded his allowable tax exemption.
It said Mr. Ayariga rather paid an amount of GH¢6,06.86 and cleared the vehicles from the Tema Port.
It added that when the vehicles were cleared from the poenetwork.comrt, the NDC MP sold them out to Kenderick Kwasi Marfo at a cost of $40,000 each instead of using the vehicles for his official duties.