National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has indicated that charges leveled against him by Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, are not “entirely accurate.”
The MP and former Minister of Information has denied the charge of tax evasion.
Speaking to local radio station, JoyFM, Mr. Ayariga noted that “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. Amidu, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General under the late Prof. Mills’ administration, has charged Mr. Ayariga with five counts for allegedly fraudulently evading tax and dealing in foreign currency without a license.
The MP has been charged with the fraudulent evasion of taxes, after he paid the duty of Gh¢6,000 when he imported three Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles instead of approved duty of Gh¢36,000.
Again, the MP is accused 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.
Furthermore, Mr. Ayariga has also been charged with abuse of office as a public officer, for personal gain, as well as dealing in foreign exchange without a license and transferring money to an agent in Dubai, without a requisite license when he purchased the car.
But Mr. Ayariga has expressed shock over the charges.
According to him, it was no fault of his that Gh¢6,000 instead of Gh¢ 36,000 import duty was paid for the three Land Cruisers.
The embattled lawmaker argued that “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.”
He said “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 Gh¢ 6,000 instead of Gh¢ 36,000.”
Blame Port Authorities
Mr. Ayariga appears to be shifting blames on authorities at the Tema Port.
According to him, the port authorities should be questioned so they can clarify how an import duty of Gh¢ 6,000 was paid instead of Gh¢ 36,000 because he had no hand in it.
BY Melvin Tarlue