JUDGE RULES ON AYARIGA INDEMNITY PLEA

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An Accra High Court has ruled that a certificate issued to Bawku Central MP to be absent from court due to Parliamentary privileges does not apply because he is an accused person in the case and not a witness.

The case, she said, will therefore, proceed and be dealt with expeditiously.

Mr. Ayariga’s lawyers raised concerns about the charges against him. The state prosecutors however, argued against it and have filed documents supporting their view, Joy News’ Joseph Ackah-Blay reported.

The same happened with the two charges leveled against the MP and the case has been adjourned to Monday.

Early on

Mahama Ayariga arrived in court in Accra Tuesday afternoon at 12:50, beating a 1:00 pm mark set by the judge.

The NDC MP had sought to assert his parliamentary privileges which he said does not allow the state to hurl him to court while on parliamentary assignment.

But appearing in no mood for MP privileges argument, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe gave the directive for the legislator to appear in court after his lawyers told the court he was involved in parliamentary work.

The MP earlier said a formal court order was not served on him so he is unable to honour an invitation to appear.

Background

An Accra High Court has asked lawyers for MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga to produce the legislator in court.

The Parliamentarian is being tried by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for alleged tax evasion and the procurement of some ambulances.

However, Ayariga wrote back to the Special Prosecutor indicating that he cannot be present in court on Tuesday since he is an MP and will be in Parliament.

“I can come to court on any other day when Parliament is not sitting,” Ayariga wrote. Keeping his word, Ayariga did not appear in court when both cases were called on Tuesday morning.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe has asked the legislator to be produced in court insisting that “whatever happens you are coming back today, so go and agree when all of you can be present.”

 

JoyNews’ Joseph Ackah-Blay reported that the judge asked the Mr Ayariga should be in court by 1 pm stressing since the case is a criminal one, the MP is needed in court for the case to proceed.

In Parliament

The Bawku Central Central MP who was in Parliament at the time of the court sitting has said his lawyers have apprised him of the development.

While he will avail himself to the court, Mahama Ayariga intends to use the opportunity to inform the judge of the privileges of Members of Parliament.

Meanwhile, on the floor of Parliament, he has asked the Speaker to rule on whether a Member of Parliament can be compelled to answer charges in court while the House is sitting.

The Speaker has announced 30 minutes recess to consult on the subject and return with a ruling.  

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