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General News of Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Special Prosecutor ‘completely wrong’ - Ayariga responds to charges

Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga has been left baffled by charges leveled against him by the Special Prosecutor.

The Special Prosecutor has begun the prosecution of the MP after charging him with five counts for fraudulently evading tax and dealing in foreign currency without a license.

SP charges

Mr Ayariga has been charged with the fraudulent evasion of taxes, after he paid the duty of ¢6,000 when he imported three Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles instead of approved duty of ¢36,000.

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, accuses him of selling the three Toyota vehicles which were purchased with a loan from Parliament meant for his use as a public officer to one Fredrich Marfo of Atlas Rent A Car.

The former Information Minister has also been charged with abuse of his office as a public officer, for personal gain.

He also accuses Ayariga of dealing in foreign exchange without a license and transferring money to an agent in Dubai, without a requisite license when he purchased the car.

The Special Prosecutor says Mr Ayariga also breached procurement rules in the purchase of an ambulance for a hospital in his constituency.

Denial

But in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story, Mr Ayariga said the allegations leveled against him are not entirely accurate.

He denies evading tax because “taxes on all the vehicles have been paid. There is no tax owed on any of the vehicles…there is not even a 1 cedi tax owed on any of the vehicles.”

Mr Ayariga explained that it was no fault of his that ?6,000 instead of ?36,000 import duty was paid for the three Land Cruisers.

According to him, “when the vehicles came, Parliament wrote to Finance Ministry for exemption, Finance wrote to GRA granting the exemption and then assessed the exemption at 36,000 [cedis] then we gave the money to an agent to clear the vehicles.

“When the agent got to the port, he was told that the assessment by the Finance Ministry was wrong and that it was 6,000 [cedis] so he paid that and brought the balance back. So when Martin Amidu started the investigations and invited me, I told him I never went to the port so [he should] invite the agent and ask him how he paid ?6,000 instead of ?36,000,” the MP narrated.

He is by this, surprised that the Special Prosecutor still went ahead to charge him although he had no hand in what transpired at the port and how the agent paid a reduced amount as import duty.

In his view, the port authorities should be questioned so they can clarify how an import duty of ?6,000 was paid instead of ?36,000 because he had no hand in it.

“That is an administrative matter, it has nothing to do with me,” he stressed.

Mr Ayariga is prepared to go to court to defend himself on the matter and is hopeful of getting a favourable judgement there.

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