April 4, 2017

A group calling itself the Coalition for Defence of Equal Citizenship(CODEC) has urged the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga to proceed to court to purge himself of charges of contempt likely to be made against him by the state.

Ayariga following the release of the Joe Ghartey report has questioned the manner in which the evidence was evaluated in the process of investigations, saying criminal standards were used and that ought not to have been the case. According to him, he wasn’t given the opportunity to be cross-examined.

He was compelled by the committee’s report to render an unqualified apology to purge himself of contempt, with ruling on the matter deferred to a later date.

But Mr. Ayariga, who appeared dissatisfied with the work of the committee, reluctantly rendered the apology, saying “Mr. Speaker, if you say I should apologize, I have apologized.”

In a reaction Saturday, Ayariga said he will hold himself in abeyance pending the ruling of the Speaker on the matter.

“When you go before a lower court, and it takes a decision, if the judge evaluates the evidence and says I’ve come to this conclusion but says I will determine the ruling next week, so come next week and come and hear the sentence, you have to wait next week before you decide whether you have to appeal or not to appeal. So while Speaker did not conclude that day but said he will rule on it, I have to wait for the Speaker’s ruling and then the issue of whether the legal challenge to the process or some of the processes will be effected, will then be decided on. So at this stage strictly speaking we all have to wait. ”

But Ali Dawud, Director of Operations(CODEC) in an interview with Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM said the opague report churned out by the Joe Ghartey committee is disappointing and leaves much to be desired, hence Ayariga must defend himself in court.

“If this were to be a civil issue, we can even institute an action to protect the interest of the constitution on behalf of the people of Ghana, but this is purely criminal issue-Contempt, and when it comes to criminal issues the accused person ought to fight for his rights. Nobody can do that for him. We would have wished we do that for him, but we are barred from doing so because it is a criminal matter.

“His apology will expose him to face criminal action which can be taken on behalf of the state by the Attorney General(AG), pursuant to Article 123 of the 1992 constitution because contempt is a semi-criminal offence. So if you have lied in parliament the state has the power to press criminal charges against you and he can risk losing his seat. Meanwhile he didn’t peddle untruth. The committee fell short of finding the fact so why should Ayariga, a volunteer of information, turn out to be a convict.”