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An Accra High Court hearing the case involving Mr Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and six others has stayed its proceedings pending the determination of an application at the Supreme Court, challenging the qualification of Mr Martin Amidu as the Special Prosecutor.
The court stayed its proceedings after Counsel for Ayariga, Mr Edudzi Tamakloe had moved an application for the court to stay its proceedings pending the determination of an appeal at the Court of Appeal, filed on June 21.
It was their argument that matters raised were matters were about fundamental constitutional issues which also relate to the enforcement of the supreme law, and a determination of this constitutional issue would have the effect of either terminating the entire process.
He said the case relates to whether or not the charge sheet signed by Mr Amidu should stand on the basis of capacity raised, saying should the court take the view that he was not qualified to occupy the office, we contend that the entire case has to come to an end.
Counsel for the second and third accused persons associated themselves with the arguments of Mr Tamakloe, while counsel for the first, fourth, fifth and sixth accused persons told the court that they were indifferent.
The prosecution, led by Michael Baafi from the Office of the Special Prosecutor, however, opposed the application, saying counsel has also failed to disclose any special circumstances, and has nowhere in the reliefs asked the court to refer the alleged constitutional matter to the Supreme Court.
He said this application is just an intent to have the charge sheet struck out; “to stay this application, will mean you are hindering the smooth proceeding of the trial which has the tendency of creating a chaos state. Dismiss the application and allow for the continuation of this trial.”
The court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, however, granted the stay on the grounds that there was a challenge to the acting capacity of the Special Prosecutor, before the Supreme Court, and if it was to decide that he was not the right person to occupy that position, it meant the trial of this court would have ended.
She said if that happened, it would be at a middle of a trial when people have given their evidence, and others would be in the process of.
She said the challenge has been launched long ago, for like a year now. The arguments have closed and everyone has filed what they were supposed to. The addition of one Justice, to replace Justice Adinyire was what had delayed the judgment.
“I am willing to wait to abide by the decision of the Supreme Court. In the course of the vacation the empanelling of the new judge would be done for the decision to be taken. I would grant the stay.”
The court also ordered the accused person to appear before it once every month until the Supreme Court reads the decision.
The case was then adjourned to October 23.
Ayariga, and the six others are facing seven counts of conspiracy, abetment, contravention of the procedure for request for quotation, using public office for profit and transfer of foreign exchange from Ghana through an unauthorized dealer.
The six include Hajia Hawa Ninchema, Municipal Chief Executive for Bawku, Sumaila Ewuntomah Abudu, Former Municipal Coordinating Director, Bawku Municipal Assembly (BMA), Alex Vadze, Procurement Officer, BMA, Alhaji Abdul Mumuni Jesewunde, Municipal Financial Officer BMA, Mary-Stella Adapesa Municipal Health Director, Bawku and Mumuni Yakubu Nambe, Assembly Member BMA.
The seven accused persons were alleged to have acted together to import an ambulance without following due procurement process, as stipulated by law.
They have all pleaded not guilty to all seven counts charges.
Ayariga is on a self-recognisance bail in the sum of GH?100,000.00, while the other six have also been admitted to bail in the sum of GH?50,000.00 with two sureties each. One of the sureties the court said must be a resident of Accra since all six accused persons are based in the Upper East Region.
The court has also directed all the accused to deposit their passports at the court and notify the court in writing anytime they intend to travel.
Meanwhile, in another development a case against Ayariga, and one other before the same court, relating to charges of using public office for private benefit, has been adjourned to October 23 this year for the court to rule on an application to struck out the charges.
The court ordered parties to file their legal arguments on or before August 8.
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