Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Friday August 17, 2018
Information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that the Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) has impounded three vehicles said to belong to opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga.
The three vehicles, all Toyota Land Cruiser V8s, are said to be the subject of ongoing investigations into the circumstances that led to their importation into the country by the MP who is said to have breached tax rules.
Mahama Ayariga is alleged to have imported a number of expensive cars into the country without paying appropriate taxes leading to investigations over the possibility of causing financial loss to the state through tax evasion.
It is emerging that the Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Amidu said Mahama Ayariga has been sending influential personalities to beg him not to prosecute him in respect of these vehicles.
It is expected that after the EOCO investigations, the Office of the Special Prosecutor, will proceed to court to charge the suspect if the anti graft body is able to establish a case against the Bawku Central MP.
EOCO officials were tight-lipped about the issue when DAILY GUIDE contacted them yesterday although there was confirmation that the three expensive cars had been seized.
The former Attorney-General said recently that 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 Amidu then filed a complaint before the EOCO against the former Minister of Environment under the previous Mahama administration 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 had said in a statement to EOCO.
In June, the EOCO issued a public notice to owners/drivers of vehicles with registration 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 later became clear that the listed vehicles were the same as the subject-matter of Martin Amidu’s investigation.
Mr. Amidu, in the letter to the EOCO, said that when Mahama Ayariga came in the knowledge that he was under probe through a letter to the Speaker of Parliament asking for his release, he resorted to using influential persons to come and 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 the EOCO and asked it to investigate the complaint of obstruction by Mahama Ayariga to the investigation.
“I asked the 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 have accordingly, on 3rd August 2018, requested the 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 cautioned the so-called influential personalities who are in the habit of interceding on behalf of suspects to desist from the act and said he 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.”