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General News of Thursday, 17 January 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Crime will be treated as crime in the Office of the Special Prosecutor - Martin Amidu

Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu has warned that his office will not be used to pursue political investigation and prosecution as it works meticulously to rid the country of corruption and corrupt officials.

This follows a report on an alleged investigation on Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariya alluding to the procurement of an ambulance for his constituency.

Stating the facts in a release sighted by ghanaweb.com, the Special Prosecutor said though the MP was accompanied to the Office of the Special Prosecutor by an investigator from the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), it was not in connection with the purchase of an ambulance.

According to him, Mr. Ayariya was questioned over the receival and subsequent forwarding of a confidential letter written by the Office of the Special Prosecutor to the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. Kofi Nti.

“The EOCO and this Office have been investigating the Hon. Mahama Ayariga for obstruction of investigations and other suspected offences and therefore his act of engaging with WhatsApp messages to EOCO was daring and suspicious.

Hon. Mahama Ayariga appeared before EOCO on 4th January 2019 but was not questioned on the source of the leakage from GRA, nor was his phone taken as exhibit. He was rather allowed to travel to his constituency without my knowledge as the person directing the investigations. Consequently, I sought the concurrence of the Minister responsible for the GRA to investigate the leak of my letter to Mr. Kofi Nti and to Hon. Mahama Ayariga and then to EOCO.

Hon. Mahama Ayariga was accompanied by two lawyers to the investigation’s division of this Office on 14th January 2019, where he made a statement admitting the WhatsApp he sent to the Executive Director of EOCO and he was granted bail,” the release indicated.

While revealing an ongoing investigation on another breach of the Public Procurement Act, Mr. Amidu said he will also not be intimidated to prosecute fellow citizens purely on party political grounds.

He added that his office will continue to treat crime as crime as no political card will be accepted as an insurance against investigations and or prosecution of corrupt offences.

“I am also investigating another breach of the Public Procurement Act which affects this Office directly in which the suspects have failed or refused to report because they think they have connections in the Government. However, I can assure the public that while I occupy the role of Special Prosecutor, crime will always be treated as crime and no political party card can act as an insurance against investigating and/or prosecuting any offences that fall under my mandate under the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959). I am determined to maintain the confidence Ghanaians placed in me in supporting my approval and appointment by the President as the Special Prosecutor until otherwise decided by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

He however stated that investigation into the procurement of the said ambulance for the Bawku Central Constituency was ongoing with his office questioning the assemblyman and Municipal Chief Executive of the municipality.

“Coincidentally one Yakubu Mumuni Nambe, an Assemblyman for the Bawku Municipal Assembly and a relation of Hon. Ayariga on the mother’s side had been invited the same day for questioning in relation to the purchase of an ambulance by the Bawku Municipal Assembly. The Municipal Chief Executive, Hon. Hajia Hawa Ninchema, appointed by President and others, had already been interrogated quietly as is our style on previous occasions on the same ambulance but never Hon. Mahama Ayariga,” the Special Prosecutor disclosed.