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Court Hearing On Alleged Tax Evasion: Mahama Ayariga Seeks Speakers Ruling   
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The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central constituency, Mahama Ayariga has said he is ready to appear in court anytime to defend himself against charges of tax evasion and abuse of office filed by the Special Prosecutor.

However, Hon Ayariga said he will not avail himself in court when Parliament is sitting as that will breach article 117 and 112 of the Constitution which says no Member of Parliament shall be impeded from the discharge of his Parliamentary duties whilst the House is sitting.

The Bawku Central MP therefore urged the Speaker to give his ruling on the issue. 

Commenting on the issue, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu said whist Mahama Ayariga is not above the law and will respect the laws of the country, care should be taken in order not to breach provisions of the Constitution which ensures that MPs are not impeded in the discharge of their duties in Parliament when the House is sitting.

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu also noted that MPs are not above the law.

However, he said provisions of the Constitution regarding the discharge of their duties in Parliament must not be breached by any court.

Giving his ruling on the issue, the Speaker Rt Hon Prof Michael Aaron Oquaye referred to articles 117 and 112 of the 1992 Constitution and said court processes shall not be served on the Speaker, a Member of Parliament or the Clerk of Parliament whilst going to discharge his or her duty in Parliament.

According to the Speaker, the court could hear a case involving a member of Parliament on Mondays as happened to Hon Dan Abodakpi, former MP for Keta.

Mr Ayariga in a letter addressed to the Special Prosecutor (SP), Martin Amidu and dated Sunday, June 2, said he can't honour the Tuesday, June 4 summons and can only be present in court on any other day that does not coincide with Parliamentary sittings.

He further warned that any conduct by the Special Prosecutor which impedes or obstructs his right to Parliament on that day will amount to contempt of Parliament, and added that he was not enthused about abandoning his parliamentary duties to respond to what he described as an "inappropriately timed invitation".

However, on Tuesday morning, the Accra High Court ordered that he should appear in court.
Source: Isaac Kwame Owusu/Peacefmonline.com/[email protected]

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