By Martin Awuku
The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, says he will challenge a court order directed at telecom giant, MTN Ghana, to make available his phone records to the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu.
An Accra Circuit Court had ordered the Managing Director of MTN to produce phone records of Mahama Ayariga and an officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority to the Special Prosecutor.
The court gave the order at the request of Amidu.
Mr. Amidu had told the court presided over by Mrs. Ruby Naa Adjeley-Quayson that the office of the Special Prosecutor had already obtained an order to conduct a forensic examination on three mobile phone numbers from the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service.
Consequently, the Presiding Judge granted the order and asked MTN to produce the said phone records dated December 1, 2018, to January 6, 2019.
But Ayariga in a statementrreleased on Thursday said he would have gladly produced the records if Amidu had asked directly but said he has decided to contest the order.
“I, MAHAMA, AYARIGA WOULD HAVE GLADLY PERSONALLY HANDED MY MTN CALL RECORDS TO MR MARTIN AMIDU, IF HE HAD JUST ASKED ME DIRECTLY, SO HE WILL SEE THAT I HAVE NEVER PLACED A CALL TO MR KWASI GYIMAH-ASANTE’S PHONE. I STILL DO NOT KNOW WHO KWASI ASANTE-GYIMAH IS.”
“I HOWEVER THINK THAT IN THE INTEREST OF DEVELOPING CLARITY ON THE LAW PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF THE COMMUNICATION OF GHANAIAN CITIZENS ON MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS PLATFORMS, AND SETTING PROPER PRECEDENTS, THE BREATH OF THE COURT ORDER SHOULD BE SUBJECTED TO LEGAL SCRUTINY. I HAVE THEREFORE INSTRUCTED MY LAWYERS ACCORDINGLY,” HE SAID IN A STATEMENT.
Ayariga in the statement urged MTN not to hastily yield to the order, but exhaust all legal means possible to protect the interest of its customers.
“I BELIEVE THAT MTN IS PROPERLY ADVISED NOT TO HASTILY YIELD TO THIS CLEARLY OVER-BROAD ORDER IN THE INTEREST OF THEIR CUSTOMERS. MTN MUST BE SEEN TO EXHAUST ALL LEGAL CHALLENGES,” HE ADDED.
Why is Special Prosecutor investigating Ayariga
The Bawku Central M is being investigated by the Special Prosecutor on suspicion of corruption and abusing his office.
Ayariga is said to have imported three Toyota Land Cruiser V8s into the country, according to a statement by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, sighted by citinewsroom.com.
“After undertaking preliminary investigations into the suspected commission of corruption and corruption-related offences including the abuse of public office for private gain by the Honourable Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Constituency, my office decided that there were sufficient grounds to invite the suspect for the conduct of full investigations into the allegations,” the statement said.
“The suspect was suspected of the importation into Ghana through corrupt means and corruption-related activities of three used white Toyota Land Cruiser V8 vehicles by using a Parliamentary Resolution dated 7th April, 2017 contracting a facility of US 322,500,000 between the Parliamentary Service and the Societé General Bank for the purchase of one brand new official vehicle for each of the 275 Members of Parliament.”
“Due to the fact that the investigations division of my office was in process of being set up, I invited the Economic and Organized Crime Office to undertake a joint investigation of the suspected offenses with my office as permitted under out establishment enactments,” Mr. Amidu said.
Amidu reports Ayariga to EOCO
The statement indicated that Mr. Amidu had reported Mr. Ayariga to the Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) for attempting to obstruct his probe.
Mr. Ayariga is said to have sent personal friends, former colleagues, chiefs, pastors among others, to plead with Mr. Amidu on his behalf.
This is despite warnings from Mr. Amidu.
“I asked the EOCO on a number of occasions to warn the suspect to desist from his conduct of obstructing the investigation by soliciting others to put pressure on me to abate same to no avail….I have accordingly, on 3rd August 2018, requested the EOCO to investigate my complaint against the suspect for obstructing me, the Special Prosecutor, in the performance of the functions of my office as the Special Prosecutor,” the statement said.
Below is Ayariga’s full statement:
I will contest Martin Amidu court order for my MTN call records – Mahama Ayariga
I, Mahama, Ayariga would have gladly personally handed my MTN call records to Mr Martin Amidu, if he had just asked me directly, so he will see that I have never placed a call to Mr Kwasi Gyimah-Asante’s phone. I still do not know who Kwasi Asante-Gyimah is.
I however think that in the interest of developing clarity on the law protecting the privacy of the communication of Ghanaian citizens on mobile telecommunications platforms, and setting proper precedents, the breath of the court order should be subjected to legal scrutiny. I have therefore instructed my lawyers accordingly.
I believe that MTN is properly advised not to hastily yield to this clearly over-broad order in the interest of their customers. MTN must be seen to exhaust all legal challenges.
Hon. Mahama Ayariga
MP, Bawku Central