Don’t probe me – Ayariga begs Amidu over tax evasion
Special Prosecutor, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, has revealed that National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central and former Environment Minister, Mahama Ayariga, is allegedly blocking attempts by his office to investigate him.
The former Attorney General said Mahama Ayariga, whom he described as ‘suspect,’ is using influential personalities like chiefs, pastors (men of God), personal friends, and former colleagues, among others, to persuade him (Amidu) to drop the criminal investigations against him.
Mr Ayariga is said to have imported a number of cars into the country without paying appropriate taxes, causing financial loss to the state.
Mr Amidu, therefore, filed a complaint before the Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) against the NDC MP, who is always loud on radio but appears to have gone silent of late, for the alleged interference in the investigations.
“The preliminary investigations pertained to the importation into Ghana through corrupt means and corruption-related activities of three used white Toyota Land Cruiser V8 vehicles by using a Parliamentary Resolution dated 7th April 2017 contracting a facility of $22, 500, 000 between the Parliamentary Service and the Societe Generale Bank (Ghana) which was for the purchase of one brand new official vehicle for each of the 275 Members of Parliament,” Mr. Amidu explained in a statement to EOCO.
In June, EOCO issued a public notice to owners/drivers of vehicles with registration number GR 2220-18, GR 2221-18, GR 2222-18, all Land Cruisers, as well as GR 2243-17, Toyota Camry and GT 4054 Nissan, to report to the anti-graft body on June 20 at 11 am.
It is, however, looking increasingly clear that the listed vehicles are the same as the subject-matter of the Martin Amidu investigation.
It is now turning out that a letter the Special Prosecutor wrote to the Speaker of Parliament and copied to the MP to request that he (Ayariga) submits himself for questioning rather became an ‘obstacle.’
Mr. Amidu said Mr Ayariga has allegedly been using influential persons to beg him (Amidu) to back down on the probe.
“The suspect refused to report to the offices of EOCO in Accra as demanded by a publication on page 26 of the Daily Graphic of 20th June, 2018 with vehicle numbers GR 2220-18, GR 2221-18, GR 2222-18, GT 2243-17 and GT 4054-13, consequently, it fell on me to write to the Speaker of Parliament with a copy to Honourable Mahama Ayariga (the suspect) in my letter dated 26th June 2018 to release the suspect to report to the EOCO on 3rd July, 2018,” the Special Prosecutor said.
“When the suspect, Honourable Mahama Ayariga, received his copy of my letter to the Speaker, he immediately started to get people who he perceived could put pressure on me (such as personal friends, former colleagues, chiefs, men of God etc.) to abate the investigation being conducted in the performance of my functions under Acts 959 and Act 804,” he added.
Mr. Amidu further added that despite cautions through EOCO to Mahama Ayariga to refrain from trying to obstruct investigations, Ayariga persisted with getting people close to him (Amidu) to get the inquiry abated.
Mr. Amidu said on August 3, 2018 he officially reported the matter to EOCO and asked it to investigate the complaint of obstruction of the investigation by Mahama Ayariga.
“I asked EOCO on a number of occasions to warn the suspect to desist from his conduct of obstructing the investigation by soliciting others to put pressure on me to abate same to no avail….I accordingly, on 3rd August 2018, requested EOCO to investigate my complaint against the suspect for obstructing me, the Special Prosecutor, in the performance of the functions of my office as the Special Prosecutor,” the statement said.
Mr. Amidu advised so-called influential personalities, who are in the habit of interceding on behalf of suspects, to desist from the act.
“I will not tolerate any interference or obstruction from anybody or organ of Government other than the courts of law in the performance of the independent functions of my office even if the culprit were my only brother,” he added.