Parliament suspends sitting to determine whether Ayariga should meet SP in court

Mr Amidu [R] wants the Speaker of Parliament to release Mr Ayariga for trial

Parliament[/caption] Parliament suspended Tuesday’s sitting for a determination to be made on an application brought before the house by embattled Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, on whether or not he should honour an invitation to appear in court Tuesday. The legislator has been dragged to court by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, standing trial for alleged tax evasion and procurement of some ambulances. However, Mr. Ayariga, in a letter dated June 2, responded to the Special Prosecutor indicating that he cannot be present in court on Tuesday since he is an MP and will be in Parliament. When the case was called in court Tuesday morning, Ayariga was in Parliament. He moved a motion in the house describing the court order, which he claims has not yet been served him, a breach of his parliamentary immunity. Consequently, both the minority and majority leaders asked the Speaker to make a determination on the matter. They emphasized that the speaker makes a determination that would be in the interest of rule of law yet protecting parliamentary immunity. This compelled the house to suspend sitting waiting on the determination of the speaker. Meanwhile, the Accra High Court sitting on the case has asked lawyers for MP to produce the legislator in court latest by 1:00pm. The presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, insists that the MP must be present in court for the case to proceed because it is a criminal matter. She thus directed “whatever happens you are coming back today, so go and agree when all of you can be present”.

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