The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) is taking steps to retrieve $25,000 from a rental company that bought cars from Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga.
The amount according to EOCO, is monies accrued from the use of the three cars by the rental company, Atlas Rent A Car.
Mr Ayariga is under investigations by the Office of the Special Prosecutor on accusations of tax evasion and fraud in the importation of the vehicles.
Already, the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu who is pursuing the case for possible prosecution has secured a court order to access Mr Ayariga’s call records within a specified period in connection to specific numbers.
The incensed MP has issued a statement vowing to challenge the Special Prosecutor in court.
In letter sighted by Joy News, EOCO who appears to have already been in touch with the rental company said “In your statement to the Economic and Organised Crime Office on 10th July 2018, 14th August 2018 and 9th January 2019, you indicated that you have realised an amount of USD 25,754.00 during the period the three Toyota Landcruiser Vehicles worked.
“The investigation considers the said amount realised as an exhibit. You are therefore to produce the said amount to the Executive Director on Friday 18 January 2019 at 10:00 AM,” the letter added.
But Atlas Rent A Car in its response to EOCO says they will not release the amount requested.
“We do admit that per section 19 of the Economic and Organised Crime Office Act, 2010, Act 804…is clothed with the power to request for information and documents. However, we do not agree that this power extends to asking for the sum of $25,754.00 which is the proceeds from a legitimate business venture.”
The company through its lawyers added that they are also unable to produce the amount because, “this amount of money was used to cover salaries and allowances of drivers, operational costs, repair and servicing of the three Toyota Landcruiser vehicles.”
The company believes EOCO is overstepping its mandate by requesting for the amount, adding “In any event, if the said amount forms part of the evidence of the matter you are investigating, you are well within your rights and powers to obtain an order from the court to freeze the said amount in our accounts.”
In its concluding response, the company said EOCO is not clothed with the legal powers to “request for profits made from a legitimate business transaction, which you described as “information to be tagged as an exhibit”.
The Minority has jumped to the defence of Mr Ayariga, describing the court’s order for his call records to be released as an invasion of his privacy.
Ningo-Prampram MP, Samuel George Nartey said although the court is within its rights to ask for the information, there is the need to be mindful of the principle of overreaching and the privacy of citizens.
He is of the view that the courts can be misled and at times uninformed about certain positions, especially when they involve certain technicalities.