Court sets July 31 to rule on application to stay proceedings in Ayariga case

Mahama Ayariga

An Accra High Court hearing the case involving Mr Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and six others has set July 31, to rule on an application for stay of proceedings pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal by counsel for Mr Ayariga.

When the case was called on Wednesday afternoon, the court said it had before it three application, one for the extract of diary of action, filed on June 8, another directed at respondents to release ambulance, filed on June 8, and another for stay of proceedings pending the determination of an appeal at the Court of Appeal, filed on June 21.

Counsel for Ayariga, Mr Edudzi Tamakloe, moving the application said the application to stay proceedings was that the substantive appeal was founded on the same ground with the affidavit in support of the motion paper.

He said the matters raised were matters that raise 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 courts have held that in an application to stay proceedings the applicants must demonstrate that there were exceptional circumstances to warrant the stay.

He said the case relates to whether or not the charge sheet signed by Mr Martin 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.

He argued that the application goes to the very root, and that there were real exceptional circumstances.

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 said they were opposed to the application.

He argued that technically speaking there was no appeal pending before the Appeals Court in this matter for which this court must grant stay of proceedings.

He said in considering whether or not to grant stay, a look must be done as to whether or not there would be lost should the appeal succeed.

He said 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. 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 case.”

The court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe then set July 31 for her ruling on the application.

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 with two sureties each. One of the sureties the court said must be a resident of Accra since all six accused persons are base 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, the court granted the request by the Prosecution to substitute the charge sheet filed earlier on March 27, with a new one.

Source: GNA

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