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General News of Monday, 13 May 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

I never abused my office - Ayariga responds to Special Prosecutor accusations

Former Information minister Mahama Ayariga who is under investigation by the Special Prosecutor has stressed that he never abused his office for personal gain.

The Special Prosecutor has three cases against the Bawku Central MP who held several ministerial portfolios under the John Mahama administration between 2013 to 2016.

He is accused of procurement breaches in relation to purchasing of an ambulance, tax evasion and abuse of office in relation to the purchase of five vehicles with a car loan.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP is one of 25 other former and current government officials under investigation by the anti-graft body.

Following a JoyNews report highlighting these cases, the former minister has defended his actions, rejecting all three cases of accusations against him.

On the matter of tax evasion in the importation of land cruisers, he has explained that he has complied with a tax assessment from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and has been issued receipts confirming his tax compliance.

He also rejected accusations that he breached procurement rules in the purchase of some ambulances.

Mr Ayariga has explained further that, he authorized the Bawku Municipal Assembly to use his share of the Common Fund to buy an ambulance.

The vehicles were brought in under duty exemption given by the Finance Minister and the Assembly paid the customs value for the ambulances.

He said Martin Amidu has seized the ambulances and parked them for 10 months now.

The former minister explained that he never abused his office as accused in the purchase of a vehicle with an $80,000 loan facility from Parliament.

According to him, there is a standing practice which allows and MP to nominate a company to buy the vehicle on behalf of the MP.

He nominated Atlas Rent A Car and in addition to the loan, also bought three used Land Cruisers through the company.

The additional vehicles were purchased with another loan facility raised for him by Atlas Rent A Car which has raised questions of abuse of office and subsequently, his denial.